The influence of vegetation and landscape structural connectivity on butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Hesperiidae), Carabids (Coleoptera: Carabidae), Syrphids (Diptera: Syrphidae), and sawflies (Hymenoptera: Symphyta) in Northern Italy farmland

Burgio, G.; Sommaggio, D.; Marini, M.; Chiarucci, A.; Landi, S.; Fabbri, R.; Pesarini, F.; Genghini, M.; Ferrari, R.; Muzzi, E.; Lenteren, J.C. van; Masetti, A.


Landscape structure as well as local vegetation influence biodiversity in agroecosystems. A study was performed to evaluate the effect of floristic diversity, vegetation patterns, and landscape structural connectivity on butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea and Hesperiidae), carabids (Coleoptera: Carabidae), syrphids (Diptera: Syrphidae), and sawflies (Hymenoptera: Symphyta). Vegetation analysis and insect samplings were carried out in nine sites within an intensively farmed landscape in northern Italy. Plant species richness and the percentage of tree, shrub, and herb cover were determined by means of the phytosociological method of Braun-Blanquet. Landscape structural connectivity was measured as the total length of hedgerow network (LHN) in a radius of 500¿m around the center of each sampling transect. Butterflies species richness and abundance were positively associated both to herb cover and to plant species richness, but responded negatively to tree and shrub cover. Shrub cover was strictly correlated to both species richness and activity density of carabids. The species richness of syrphids was positively influenced by herb cover and plant richness, whereas their abundance was dependent on ligneous vegetation and LHN. Rarefaction analysis revealed that sawfly sampling was not robust and no relationship could be drawn with either vegetation parameters or structural connectivity. The specific responses of each insect group to the environmental factors should be considered in order to refine and optimize landscape management interventions targeting specific conservation endpoints.