Evaluation of Carabid Beetle Diversity in Different Bioenergy Cropping Systems

Benjamin Mast, Simone Graeff Hönninger, Wilhelm Claupein


Changes in agricultural land use as a consequence of an increased demand of energy crops have resulted in an increase of maize cropped area in many regions of Germany. The focus on maize as main biogas substrate, has led in some cases to negative ecological and environmental impacts, such as a loss of agro biodiversity reflected in a loss of field flora and fauna biodiversity. The present paper deals with the evaluation of the fauna in different bioenergy cropping systems on two sites in South-West Germany, with a special focus on the species richness of carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages as an indicator for the general status of diversity. A maize field, an agroforestry system with maize and different tree species as well as different alternative biogas crops (amaranth, sunflower) was investigated for their carabid beetle activity, density, and species richness using pitfall traps. Moreover, for an adequate evaluation of the carabid assemblages different common diversity indices (Shannon-Wiener diversity (H’), Simpson diversity (D) and Evenness (J’)) were used. In the case of the maize field on both field edges 8 and 6 carabid beetle species, respectively were trapped, while in the field centre 2 carabid beetle species were trapped. The agroforestry system indicated slightly higher crabid beetle species richness close to the tree strips. The investigation of alternative biogas crops showed no significant differences in carabid beetle diversity. Overall, the results of the different studies showed, that biodiversity of bioenergy cropping systems could be enhanced by the creation of refuge areas for carabid beetles or other animals. Refuges could be either field margins with grass and hedgerows or strips of more extensively used perennial energy crops across the field.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/sar.v1n2p127


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