Scale matters: the impact of organic farming on biodiversity at different spatial scales

Doreen Gabriel, Steven M Sait, Jenny A Hodgson, Ulrich Schmutz, William E Kunin, Tim G Benton

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235 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is increasing recognition that ecosystems and their services need to be managed in the face of environmental change. However, there is little consensus as to the optimum scale for management. This is particularly acute in the agricultural environment given the level of public investment in agri-environment schemes (AES). Using a novel multiscale hierarchical sampling design, we assess the effect of land use at multiple spatial scales (from location-within-field to regions) on farmland biodiversity. We show that on-farm biodiversity components depend on farming practices (organic vs. conventional) at farm and landscape scales, but this strongly interacts with fine- and coarse-scale variables. Different taxa respond to agricultural practice at different spatial scales and often at multiple spatial scales. Hence, AES need to target multiple spatial scales to maximize effectiveness. Novel policy levers may be needed to encourage multiple land managers within a landscape to adopt schemes that create landscape-level benefits.


Publisher statement: This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Gabriel, D. , Sait, S.M. , Hodgson, J.A. , Schmutz, U. , Kunin, W.E. and Benton, T.G. (2010) Scale matters: the impact of organic farming on biodiversity at different spatial scales. Ecology Letters, volume 13 (7): 858-869, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01481.x.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-869
Number of pages12
JournalEcology Letters
Volume13
Issue number7
Early online date5 May 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

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Bibliographical note

The full text is not available from the repository.
This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Gabriel, D. , Sait, S.M. , Hodgson, J.A. , Schmutz, U. , Kunin, W.E. and Benton, T.G. (2010) Scale matters: the impact of organic farming on biodiversity at different spatial scales. Ecology Letters, volume 13 (7): 858-869, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01481.x.

Keywords

  • spill-over
  • Agri-environment schemes
  • agro-ecology
  • conservation
  • diversity
  • landscape

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