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Arable weeds in organically managed wheat fields foster carabid beetles by resource- and structure-mediated effects

Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 75-82
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Arthropod-Plant Interactions
Volym: 6
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Springer


Arable weeds in organically managed fields may foster arthropod generalist predators by the provision of shelter and favorable microclimate (structure-mediated effects) and the provision of additional animal and floral food resources (resource-mediated effects). In three organically managed winter wheat fields in Central Germany, we investigated the impact of weed removal and introduction of artificial weed-like structure on the activity density and species richness of carabid beetles with respect to trophic groups, microclimatic conditions, and densities of potential prey. Removal of weeds reduced both carabid activity density and species richness but did not affect trophic group composition. The decline in carabid activity density was dampened by the addition of artificial structure. Mean daily surface temperature and light intensity were significantly lower under weeds and artificial plants than under wheat plants alone. Weed removal reduced the abundance of leafhoppers and true bugs, but the response was inconsistent across fields. We conclude that the presence of arable weeds in organically managed wheat fields fosters carabid activity density and species richness via resource-mediated effects, such as a higher availability of weed-borne resources (e.g. seeds and pollen) and herbivorous prey. Structure-mediated effects (altering the microclimate) add to this positive effect. The presence of weeds in organically managed wheat fields enhances carabid activity density and diversity and needs to be integrated into future management strategies for natural enemy conservation.


  • Ecology
  • Carabidae
  • Organic farming
  • Biodiversity
  • Trophic interactions
  • Habitat complexity
  • Biological control


  • BECC
  • ISSN: 1872-8855

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