Advertisement

Tracking the effects of one century of habitat loss and fragmentation on calcareous grassland butterfly communities

  • Emmanuelle Polus
  • Sofie Vandewoestijne
  • Julie Choutt
  • Michel Baguette
Original Paper
Part of the Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation book series (TOBC, volume 7)

Abstract

Habitat loss and fragmentation are known to reduce patch sizes and increase their isolation, consequently leading to modifications in species richness and community structure. Calcareous grasslands are among the richest ecosystems in Europe for insect species. About 10% (1,150 ha) of the total area of a calcareous ridge region (Calestienne, Belgium) and its butterfly community was analysed over a timeframe of about 100 years. Since 1905 to present day (2005), the Calestienne region has undergone both calcareous grassland loss and fragmentation: not only did calcareous grassland size decrease and isolation increase, but also, the number of calcareous grassland patches within the landscape increased until 1965, and subsequently decreased, clearly reflecting the effects of fragmentation. These processes have had a profound effect on the butterfly community: extinction and rarefaction affected significantly more often specialist species, which means that generalist species are more and more overrepresented. This ecological drift, i.e. the replacement of specialists by generalists in species assemblages is likely to be a general effect of habitat loss and fragmentation on natural communities.

Keywords

Ecological drift Generalist species Habitat loss Habitat fragmentation Land cover Specialist species Grassland Butterflies Community structure 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Akaike H (1978) A Bayesian analysis of the minimum AIC procedure. Ann Inst Stat Math 30:9–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrén H (1994) Effects of habitat fragmentation on birds and mammals in landscapes with different proportions of suitable habitat: a review. Oikos 71:355–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrén H (1996) Population responses to habitat fragmentation: statistical power and the random sample hypothesis. Oikos 76:235–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrén H (1999) Habitat pragmentation, the random sample hyopthesis and critical thresholds. Oikos 84(2): 306–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Austrheim G, Gunilla E, Olsson A, Grontvedt E (1999) Land-use impact on plant communities in semi-natural sub-alpine grasslands of Budalen, central Norway. Biol Conserv 87:369–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baguette M, Mennechez G (2004) Resource and habitat patches, landscape ecology and metapopulation biology: a consensual viewpoint. Oikos 106:399–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baguette M, Petit S, Quéva F (2000) Population spatial structure and migration of three butterfly species within the same habitat network: consequences for conservation. J Appl Ecol 37:100–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baguette M, Mennechez G, Petit S, Schtickzelle N (2003) Effect of habitat fragmentation on dispersal in the butterfly Proclossiana eunomia. Comp Ren Biol 326:S200–S209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Balmer O, Erhardt A (2000) Consequences of succession on extensively grazed grasslands for central European butterfly communities: Rethinking conservation practices. Conserv Biol 14:746–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bourn NAD, Thomas JA (2002) The challenge of conserving grassland insects at the margins of their range in Europe. Biol Conserv 104:285–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bruynseels G, Vermander J (1984) L’évolution de la végétation calcicole de Nismes à Vaucelles. Parcs Nationaux Ardenne et Gaume 34:71–80Google Scholar
  12. Cousins SAO, Eriksson O (2001) Plant species occurrences in a rural hemiboreal landscape: effects of remnant habitats, site history, topography and soil. Ecography 24:461–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Erhardt A, Thomas JA (1991) Lepidoptera as indicators of change in the semi-natural grasslands of lowland and upland Europe. In: Collins NM (eds) The conservation of insects and their habitats. Academic press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Fahrig L (1997) Relative effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on population extinction. J Wildlife Manage 61:603–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fahrig L, Merriam G (1984) Conservation of fragmented populations. Conserv Biol 8:50–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fontaine M, Leestmans R, Duvigneaud J (1983) Les Lépidoptères de la partie méridionale de l’Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse et de la pointe de Givet. Linn Belg 9:3–62Google Scholar
  17. Forman RTT (1995) Land mosaics: the ecology of landscapes and regions. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  18. Foster DR, Boose ER (1992) Patterns of forest damage resulting from catastrophic wind in Central New-England, USA. J Ecol 80:79–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goffart Ph, Baguette M, De Bast B (1992) La situation des Lépidoptères Rhopalocères en Wallonie ou Que sont nos papillons devenus? Bull Ann Soc r belg d’Entomol 128:355–392Google Scholar
  20. Goffart Ph, De Bast B (2000) Atlas préliminaire des papillons de jour de Wallonie et liste rouge révisée. Groupe de Travail Lépidoptères, MarcheGoogle Scholar
  21. Hanski I (1999) Habitat connectivity, habitat continuity, and metapopulations in dynamic landscapes. Oikos 87:209–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Harrison S, Bruna E (1999) Habitat fragmentation and large-scale conservation: what do we know for sure? Ecography 22:225–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Huxel GR, Hastings A (1999) Habitat loss, fragmentation, and restoration. Restor Ecol 7:309–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jenness J (2003) Identify Features Within Distance, v. 1.b (id_within_dist.avx) Extension for ArcView 3.x. Jenness Enterprises. Available at: http://www.jennessent.com/arcview/within_distance.htm
  25. Krauss J, Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2003) How does landscape context contribute to effects of habitat fragmentation on diversity and population density of butterflies? J Biogeogr 30:889–900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kruess A, Tscharntke T (1994) Habitat fragmentation, species loss, and biological control. Science 264:1581–1584PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kruess A, Tscharntke T (2000) Species richness and parasitism in a fragmented landscape: experiments and field studies with insects on Vicia sepium. Oecologia 122:129–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kudrna O (1986) Aspects of the conservation of butterflies in Europe. AULA Verlag, WiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  29. Lafranchis T (2000) Les papillons de jour de France, Belgique et Luxembourg et leurs chenilles. Parthénope, MèzeGoogle Scholar
  30. Lambillion L-J (1903) Catalogue des Lépidoptères de Belgique. Société Entomologique de Namur, NamurGoogle Scholar
  31. Lameere A (1940) Les animaux de la Belgique, Tome III. Les Naturalistes Belges, BruxellesGoogle Scholar
  32. Lhomme L (1923) Catalogue des Lépidoptères de France et de Belgique, Volume I. Léon Lhomme, ParisGoogle Scholar
  33. Maes D, Van Dyck H (2001) Butterfly diversity loss in Flanders (north Belgium): Europe’s worst case scenario? Biol Conserv 99:263–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mennechez G, Schtickzelle N, Baguette M (2003) Metapopulation dynamics of the bog fritillary butterfly: comparison of demographic parameters and dispersal between a continuous and a highly fragmented landscape. Landscape Ecol 18:279–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moilanen A, Nieminen M (2002) Simple connectivity measures in spatial ecology. Ecology 83:1131–1145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. New TR (1997) Are Lepidoptera an effective ‘umbrella group’ for biodiversity conservation? J Insect Conserv 1:5–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Saunders DA, Hobbs RJ, Margules CR (1991) Biological consequences of ecosystem fragmentation – a review. Conserv Biol 5:18–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (1999) Effects of habitat isolation on pollinator communities and seed set. Oecologia 121:432–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2000) Butterfly community structure in fragmented habitats. Ecol Lett 3:449–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Steffan-Dewenter I, Tscharntke T (2002) Insect communities and biotic interactions on fragmented calcareous grasslands – a mini review. Biol Conserv 104:275–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thomas JA (1991) Rare species conservation: case studies of European butterflies. In: Spellerberg I, Goldsmith F, Morris M (eds) The scientific management of temperate communities for conservation. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, pp 149–197Google Scholar
  42. Tilman D, May RM, Lehman CL, Nowak MA (1994) Habitat destruction and the extinction debt. Nature 371:65–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tscharntke T, Steffan-Dewenter I, Kruess A, Thies C (2002a) Characteristics of insect populations on habitat fragments: a mini review. Ecol Res 17:229–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tscharntke T, Steffan-Dewenter I, Kruess A, Thies C (2002b) Contribution of small habitat fragments to conservation of insect communities of grassland-cropland landscapes. Ecol Appl 12:354–363Google Scholar
  45. Van Schepdael J (1963) Nismes ou le bonheur de l’entomologiste. Parcs Nationaux Ardenne et Gaume 18:51–55Google Scholar
  46. van Swaay CAM (2002) The importance of calcareous grasslands for butterflies in Europe. Biol Conserv 104:315–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wallis De Vries MF, Poschlod P, Willems JH (2002) Challenges for the conservation of calcareous grasslands in northwestern Europe: integrating the requirements of flora and fauna. Biol Conserv 104:265–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilcox BA, Murphy DD (1985) Conservation strategy: the effects of fragmentation on extinction. Am Nat 125:879–887CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuelle Polus
    • 1
  • Sofie Vandewoestijne
    • 1
  • Julie Choutt
    • 1
  • Michel Baguette
    • 1
  1. 1.Unit of Ecology and BiogeographyBiodiversity Research Center (BDIV)Louvain-la-NeuveBelgium

Personalised recommendations