Organic farming affects the potential of a granivorous carabid beetle to control arable weeds at local and landscape scales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Organic farming not only increases plant diversity, but also simultaneously promotes biological weed control through provisioning of ample resources to seed predators. Harpalus affinis (Schrank, 1781) was collected from organically or conventionally managed winter-wheat fields with high or low surrounding shares of organic fields, aiming to test the impact of agricultural management on its activity density, body size and nutritional condition. Body size and nutritional condition were then related to the arable weed seed predation of this granivorous carabid beetle. Activity density of H. affinis was 3.5-fold higher in organically compared with conventionally managed fields, if these were primarily surrounded by conventional fields. Body size was larger in fields surrounded by large proportions of organically managed land, independent of local management. The nutritional condition of beetles was unaffected by local or landscape scale farming. Per capita seed predation significantly increased with body size, whereas nutritional condition had no effect. The results of the present study suggest that organic farming at local and landscape scales enhances the potential of species to control arable weeds by increasing activity densities and intraspecific body size. Seed predation therefore not only depends on local and landscape effects on the community composition of local guilds of granivores, but also on the contribution of individual species to this important ecosystem service.


External organisations
  • University of Kiel
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Agricultural Science
  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use


  • Agri-environment schemes, Agricultural intensification, Agro-ecosystem, Arable weeds, Biodiversity, Biological control, Ecosystem services, Plant diversity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalAgricultural and Forest Entomology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1
Publication categoryResearch