Changes in plant-herbivore network structure and robustness along land-use intensity gradients in grasslands and forests

2021 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Changes in plant-herbivore network structure and robustness along land-use intensity gradients in grasslands and forests​
Neff, F.; Brändle, M.; Ambarlı, D.; Ammer, C. ; Bauhus, J.; Boch, S. & Hölzel, N. et al.​ (2021) 
Science Advances7(20) pp. eabf3985​.​ DOI: 

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Neff, Felix; Brändle, Martin; Ambarlı, Didem; Ammer, Christian ; Bauhus, Jürgen; Boch, Steffen; Hölzel, Norbert; Klaus, Valentin H.; Kleinebecker, Till; Gossner, Martin M.
Land-use intensification poses major threats to biodiversity, such as to insect herbivore communities. The stability of these communities depends on interactions linking herbivores and host plants. How interaction network structure begets robustness, and thus stability, in different ecosystems and how network structure and robustness are altered along land-use intensity gradients are unclear. We analyzed plant-herbivore networks based on literature-derived interactions and long-term sampling from 289 grasslands and forests in three regions of Germany. Network size and nestedness were the most important determinants of network robustness in both ecosystems. Along land-use intensity gradients, networks in moderately grazed grasslands were more robust than in those managed by frequent mowing or fertilization. In forests, changes of network robustness along land-use intensity gradients relied on changes in plant species richness. Our results expand our knowledge of the stability of plant-herbivore networks and indicate options for management aimed at stabilizing herbivore communities.
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Science Advances 
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Waldbau und Waldökologie der gemäßigten Zonen 



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