LINKING BIODIVERSITY TO ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: THE SMALL MAMMAL COMMUNITY OF NE PORTUGAL AGROECOSYSTEMS
Joana Paupério (CIBIO-InBIO) | September 27, 2019 | 8th European Congress of Mammalogy, Warsaw, Poland
The spread and intensification of agriculture are recognised as important global threats to biodiversity, and thus to the maintenance of ecosystem functions and services. Biological pest management is one of the main ecosystem services often supported by traditional agroecosystems holding high levels of biodiversity. However, there is still limited understanding on how biodiversity levels actually relate with biological control, particularly in the case of small mammal species embedded in diverse communities facing agricultural intensification. Here we present part of the results of an ongoing research project (AGRIVOLE) that aims to unveil the response of small mammal communities to agroecosystem structure and agricultural practices, and to evaluate how such responses may affect either the potential for pest outbreaks or the persistence of species of conservation concern. Based on over 1000 barn owl pellets collected in 35 sites spatially distributed across NE Portugal, and detailed land-cover maps within 1.5 Km buffers centred in each collection site, we analyse the spatial pattern of small mammals’ community and its relation to landscape variables describing agroecosystem structure and agriculture intensification. Specifically, we use generalized linear models to test the general hypothesis that lower diversities and higher abundance of potential pests should be associated to more intensive agricultural landscapes. Overall, we expect that our results will provide useful first insights on links between small mammal diversity, and their role in agroecosystems under agricultural intensification, thereby contributing to foster sustainable agricultural management linking pest control to biodiversity conservation.