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Effects of hedgerows on bats and bush crickets at different spatial scales

Acta Oecologica-International Journal of Ecology

Abstract

Biodiversity is threatened by the loss and fragmentation of habitats. The role of hedgerows in maintaining biodiversity is well established, but few studies have addressed the importance for biodiversity of the intrinsic characteristics of hedgerows and the quality of hedgerow networks along a spatial scale. We examined three quality indices providing information at different territorial levels: density in the landscape, structural diversity and wood production. We performed an acoustic survey in a grassland to estimate the species abundance and community composition of bats (9 taxa) and bush crickets (11 species). Using an approach based on species and traits, we assessed how hedgerow quality influenced the activity of these taxa at different spatial scales (from 50 to 1000 m) and focused on three types of traits: bush cricket mobility ability, bat foraging strategy and habitat specialization. In general, our results showed the importance of hedgerow quality for bats and bush crickets, but the strength of the association between taxa and hedgerows varied substantially among the species and the spatial scales. Although it depends on the taxa, the production, density and structural diversity of hedgerows each had an overall positive effect. Our results suggested that these effects were generally more important at large scales. The scale effect of the production index is the best predictor of activity for bat and bush cricket taxa and traits. Our results showed the importance of hedgerow quality for the ecology of bat and bush cricket communities and could be used to improve conservation management. (C) 2016 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Lacoeuilhe, A; Machon, N; Julien, JF; Kerbiriou, C

Journal: Acta Oecologica-International Journal of Ecology

Year: 2016

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