A global synthesis of the effects of diversified farming systems on arthropod diversity within fields and across agricultural landscapes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Agricultural intensification is a leading cause of global biodiversity loss, which can reduce the provisioning of ecosystem services in managed ecosystems. Organic farming and plant diversification are farm management schemes that may mitigate potential ecological harm by increasing species richness and boosting related ecosystem services to agroecosystems. What remains unclear is the extent to which farm management schemes affect biodiversity components other than species richness, and whether impacts differ across spatial scales and landscape contexts. Using a global metadataset, we quantified the effects of organic farming and plant diversification on abundance, local diversity (communities within fields), and regional diversity (communities across fields) of arthropod pollinators, predators, herbivores, and detritivores. Both organic farming and higher in-field plant diversity enhanced arthropod abundance, particularly for rare taxa. This resulted in increased richness but decreased evenness. While these responses were stronger at local relative to regional scales, richness and abundance increased at both scales, and richness on farms embedded in complex relative to simple landscapes. Overall, both organic farming and in-field plant diversification exerted the strongest effects on pollinators and predators, suggesting these management schemes can facilitate ecosystem service providers without augmenting herbivore (pest) populations. Our results suggest that organic farming and plant diversification promote diverse arthropod metacommunities that may provide temporal and spatial stability of ecosystem service provisioning. Conserving diverse plant and arthropod communities in farming systems therefore requires sustainable practices that operate both within fields and across landscapes.


  • Elinor M. Lichtenberg
  • Christina M. Kennedy
  • Claire Kremen
  • Péter Batáry
  • Frank Berendse
  • Riccardo Bommarco
  • Nilsa A. Bosque-Pérez
  • Luísa G Carvalheiro
  • William E. Snyder
  • Neal M. Williams
  • Rachael Winfree
  • Sandra Åström
  • Faye Benjamin
  • Claire Brittain
  • Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer
  • Bryan N. Danforth
  • Tim Diekötter
  • Sanford D. Eigenbrode
  • Elizabeth Elle
  • Breno M. Freitas
  • Yuki Fukuda
  • Hannah R. Gaines-Day
  • Heather Grab
  • Claudio Gratton
  • Andrea Holzschuh
  • Rufus Isaacs
  • Marco Isaia
  • Shalene Jha
  • Dennis Jonason
  • Vincent P. Jones
  • Alexandra-Maria Klein
  • Jochen Krauss
  • Deborah K. Letourneau
  • Sarina Macfadyen
  • Rachel E. Mallinger
  • Emily A. Martin
  • Eliana Martinez
  • Jane Memmott
  • Lora Morandin
  • Lisa A. Neame
  • Mark Otieno
  • Mia G Park
  • Lukas Pfiffner
  • Michael J.O. Pocock
  • Carlos Ponce
  • Simon G. Potts
  • Katja Poveda
  • Mariangie Ramos
  • Jay A. Rosenheim
  • Hillary S Sardiñas
  • Manu E. Saunders
  • Nicole L. Schon
  • Amber R Sciligo
  • C. Sheena Sidhu
  • Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter
  • Teja Tscharntke
  • Milan Veselý
  • Wolfgang W Weisser
  • Julianna K. Wilson
  • David W. Crowder
External organisations
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Göttingen
  • Wageningen University
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • University of California, Davis
  • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • Stanford University
  • Cornell University
  • University of Kiel
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Otago
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Texas
  • Stockholm University
  • Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Bristol
  • University of North Dakota
  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • CSIC National Museum Of Natural Sciences (MNCN)
  • University of Reading
  • Palacký University
  • Technical University of Munich
  • Washington State University
  • University of Arizona
  • Nature Conservancy
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Brasilia
  • University of Lisbon
  • Rutgers University: The State University of New Jersey
  • Federal University of Ceará
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg
  • University of Turin
  • CSIRO Entomology
  • Corporación Colombiana De Investigación Agropecuaria (Corpoica)
  • Pollinator Partnership
  • Alberta Environment and Parks
  • University of Embu
  • Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL Switzerland)
  • University of Puerto Rico
  • Charles Sturt University
  • University of California System
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
  • Ecology


  • Agricultural management schemes, Arthropod diversity, Biodiversity, Evenness, Functional groups, Landscape complexity, Meta-analysis, Organic farming, Plant diversity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4946-4957
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Issue number11
Early online date2017 May 10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov
Publication categoryResearch