Wetland creation in agricultural landscapes: Biodiversity benefits on local and regional scales

  • Thiere G
  • Milenkovski S
  • Lindgren P
 et al. 
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Abstract

Wetland creation aiming at a simultaneous increase in nutrient retention and species diversity in agricultural landscapes has recently become applied as a catchment-scale compensation measure for past wetland losses. Here, we evaluate if, and to what extend, dual-purpose wetlands benefit local and regional diversity of agricultural landscapes. We analysed composition and α, β, and γ diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages among dual-purpose wetlands in an agricultural region in southwest Sweden in relation to local (water quality, wetland morphology, succession stage, proximity to other aquatic habitats) and landscape parameters (regional connectivity, wetland density). Diversity of mature agricultural ponds was used as a standard to evaluate the value of dual-purpose wetlands. Dual-purpose wetlands sustained α, β, and γ diversity similar to that of natural lentic water bodies in agricultural landscapes in the region and elsewhere. Over 80% of the overall species richness was attributed to β diversity, and each created wetland contributed to overall species accumulation. Ecosystem parameters explained 19% of the compositional variation among assemblages, but were only marginally related to diversity. Wetland density promoted α and γ diversity, while spatial heterogeneity (β) remained equally high, independent of wetland density. Our results indicate that catchment-scale wetland creation for simultaneous retention and diversity purposes benefits the biodiversity of agricultural landscapes, particularly if the density of aquatic habitats is increased by at least 30%. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aquatic habitat density
  • Assemblage composition
  • Benthic macroinvertebrates
  • Catchment restoration
  • Ecosystem services
  • Species richness

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