Invertebrate biodiversity continues to decline in cropland

Mancini, Francesca ORCID:; Cooke, Rob ORCID:; Woodcock, Ben A. ORCID:; Greenop, Arran ORCID:; Johnson, Andrew C. ORCID:; Isaac, Nick J.B. ORCID: 2023 Invertebrate biodiversity continues to decline in cropland. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 290 (2000), 20230897. 11, pp.

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Modern agriculture has drastically changed global landscapes and introduced pressures on wildlife populations. Policy and management of agricultural systems has changed over the last 30 years, a period characterized not only by intensive agricultural practices but also by an increasing push towards sustainability. It is crucial that we understand the long-term consequences of agriculture on beneficial invertebrates and assess if policy and management approaches recently introduced are supporting their recovery. In this study, we use large citizen science datasets to derive trends in invertebrate occupancy in Great Britain between 1990 and 2019. We compare these trends between regions of no- (0%), low- (greater than 0–50%) and high-cropland (greater than 50%) cover, which includes arable and horticultural crops. Although we detect general declines, invertebrate groups are declining most strongly in high-cropland cover regions. This suggests that even in the light of improved policy and management over the last 30 years, the way we are managing cropland is failing to conserve and restore invertebrate communities. New policy-based drivers and incentives are required to support the resilience and sustainability of agricultural ecosystems. Post-Brexit changes in UK agricultural policy and reforms under the Environment Act offer opportunities to improve agricultural landscapes for the benefit of biodiversity and society.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0962-8452
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: agroecosystems, agricultural policy, Carabidae, Syrphidae, Apoidea, Arachnida
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
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Date made live: 08 Nov 2023 16:21 +0 (UTC)

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