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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle

Smaller and Isolated Grassland Fragments Are Exposed to Stronger Seed and Insect Predation in Habitat Edges

1
‘Lendület’ Landscape and Conservation Ecology, Centre for Ecological Research, Institute of Ecology and Botany, H-2163 Vácrátót, Hungary
2
Doctoral School of Biological Sciences, Szent István University, H-2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
3
Doctoral School of Biology, Eötvös Loránd University, H-1053 Budapest, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2021, 12(1), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010054
Received: 23 November 2020 / Revised: 21 December 2020 / Accepted: 29 December 2020 / Published: 2 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Heterogeneity of Forest-Steppes)
Habitat fragmentation threatens terrestrial arthropod biodiversity, and thereby also leads to alterations of ecosystem functioning and stability. Predation on insects and seeds by arthropods are two very important ecological functions because of their community-structuring effects. We addressed the effect of fragment connectivity, fragment size, and edge effect on insect and seed predation of arthropods. We studied 60 natural fragments of two grassland ecosystems in the same region (Hungarian Great Plain), 30 forest-steppes, and 30 burial mounds (kurgans). The size of fragments were in the range of 0.16–6.88 ha for forest-steppe and 0.01–0.44 ha for kurgan. We used 2400 sentinel arthropod preys (dummy caterpillars) and 4800 seeds in trays for the measurements. Attack marks on dummy caterpillars were used for predator identification and calculation of insect predation rates. In the case of seeds, predation rates were calculated as the number of missing or damaged seeds per total number of exposed seeds. Increasing connectivity played a role only in generally small kurgans, with a negative effect on insect and seed predation rates in the edges. In contrast, fragment size moderated edge effects on insect and seed predation rates in generally large forest-steppes. The difference between edges and centres was more pronounced in small than in large fragments. Our study emphasizes the important role of landscape and fragment-scale factors interacting with edge effect in shaping ecosystem functions in natural grassland fragments of modified landscapes. Managing functional landscapes to optimize the assessment of ecosystem functions and services needs a multispatial scale approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: arthropod predation; connectivity; dummy caterpillar; ecosystem function; edge effect; forest-steppe; fragment size; kurgan; landscape-scale; seed predation arthropod predation; connectivity; dummy caterpillar; ecosystem function; edge effect; forest-steppe; fragment size; kurgan; landscape-scale; seed predation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kuli-Révész, K.; Korányi, D.; Lakatos, T.; Szabó, Á.R.; Batáry, P.; Gallé, R. Smaller and Isolated Grassland Fragments Are Exposed to Stronger Seed and Insect Predation in Habitat Edges. Forests 2021, 12, 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010054

AMA Style

Kuli-Révész K, Korányi D, Lakatos T, Szabó ÁR, Batáry P, Gallé R. Smaller and Isolated Grassland Fragments Are Exposed to Stronger Seed and Insect Predation in Habitat Edges. Forests. 2021; 12(1):54. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010054

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kuli-Révész, Kitti; Korányi, Dávid; Lakatos, Tamás; Szabó, Ágota R.; Batáry, Péter; Gallé, Róbert. 2021. "Smaller and Isolated Grassland Fragments Are Exposed to Stronger Seed and Insect Predation in Habitat Edges" Forests 12, no. 1: 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12010054

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