Biologia

, Volume 73, Issue 1, pp 43–51 | Cite as

Effects of uncut hay meadow strips on spiders

Original Article
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Abstract

Standard management of Czech hay meadows consists of machine mowing twice a year, with the first mowing in or before mid-June and the second mowing 40–60 days later. Here, we aimed to analyse the effects of the first year of implementation of the agri-environment scheme (AES), which consisted of allowing 3–10% of permanent grasslands within each land block to remain unmown until at least August 15, on the abundance and diversity of spiders. We conducted the study at 40 paired sampling sites in three meadow types in northern Czechia. Spiders were sampled using pitfall traps and sweeping, and the plant cover and vascular plant species composition were analysed. Nearly all study sites were associated with 100% vegetation cover, and hosted 209 vascular plant species, of which 12 were threatened. The number of vascular plant species exhibited only modest differences between the study sites under standard and AES-prescribed management. We captured a total of 3889 individuals of 103 spider species. The abundance of spiders was three-times higher at sites subjected to AES management. The number of species was similar irrespective of the management applied, but the species composition differed in response to the management (Sørensen index 0.562–0.736). The AES management was associated with higher abundance of common vegetation-dwelling farmland spiders, but epigeic spiders decreased there or were insensitive to AES management. It remains to be investigated whether threatened vegetation-dwelling spiders may benefit from similar AESs at sites of their occurrence, such as in fen meadows or steppes.

Keywords

Agricultural biodiversity Agri-environmental schemes Biodiversity conservation Common species Conservation management Cultural landscape 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Václav Strnad for help with the field experiments. We also thank the landlords for allowing us to access the study sites. This work was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic [grant numbers MZe RO0415 and Program rozvoje venkova 594-2016-14132]; and the Czech Science Foundation [grant number 17-10976S].

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 860 kb)

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Copyright information

© Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crop Research InstitutePrague 6 - RuzyněCzechia
  2. 2.Third Faculty of MedicineCharles UniversityPragueCzechia

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