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Protocols for species sampling and data collection

The project aimed to explore the relationship between biodiversity, landscape structure and land use intensity in the agricultural landscape. The primary objective of the project was to define vulnerability of biodiversity in this landscape type: at what combinations of landscape structure and land use intensity does it occur. A threshold of Vulnerability is indicated if slight changes e.g. in landscape structure cause significant changes at certain levels of biodiversity.

The Landscape Test Sites (LTS) were selected according to two main criteria: they should represent a gradient in the amount of natural and semi-natural habitats (green veining structures) and in the intensity of land use (e.g. input of fertilizer, pesticides). Within each of the 7 participating countries 3-4 LTS (4x4 km) were selected. The LTS were situated in France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Estonia. Thus they covered a geographical gradient too.

For the survey of the species and species group levels, a set of species and/or species groups was selected that was representative for
- The proportion of the regional species pool present in local species pool and
- The presence of functional or taxonomic groups (so must cover as many ecosystems, trophic levels and dispersal range scales as physically possible).

Furthermore, the selection of species groups depended on additional criteria like availability of specialists for determination; state of taxonomic knowledge in each country and the selected groups should be trapped using a minimum of different methods. Selected groups: vascular plants (primary producers), Araneae (spiders: predators), Carabidae (carabid beetles: mostly predators), Apoidea (bees: pollen and nectar feeders), Heteroptera (true bugs: phytophages and predators), Syrphidae (hoverflies: pollen and nectar feeders as adults) and as most mobile group birds.

In order to investigate which species may be missed in the actually registered species lists of each LTS we compiled regional and local species pools of our target groups.
The methods applied for the different species groups are presented in detail in a special report containing all protocols, which will be available from Plants were recorded on up to 250 randomly chosen plots per LTS. Arthropods were trapped by pitfall traps or combined flight traps (a combination of window and yellow water pan traps). Birds were surveyed three times on each LTS in April, May and June by visiting 20 sampling points per LTS.

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UFZ - Centre for Environmental Research
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06120 Halle
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