Zhang, Y., N. L. Haan, and D. A. Landis. 2020. Landscape composition and configuration have scale-dependent effects on agricultural pest suppression. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 302:107085.
Increasing landscape heterogeneity (composition and configuration) can enhance natural enemy populations and support pest suppression in agricultural landscapes. Using a network-based data mining approach, we examined independent gradients of landscape composition and configuration at six spatial scales that were associated with pest suppression services measured at 32 sites in Michigan and Wisconsin, USA. We compared the relative effects of landscape composition and configuration across scales with those of local crop type (corn or grassland). We found that multiple gradients of configurational heterogeneity were independent of composition and strongly associated with pest suppression, with different configuration metrics being predictive of pest suppression depending on the spatial scales and regions considered. Landscapes that were more configurationally heterogeneous at smaller spatial scales consistently supported higher pest suppression. In Michigan, pest suppression increased in landscapes with high edge contrast between annual crops and surrounding habitats and high edge density of grassland within 250−500 m radii. In Wisconsin, pest suppression increased with large core area of grassland and high field density within a 250 m radius. The main compositional effect we found was a positive relationship between grassland cover and pest suppression occurring at larger spatial scales (1000−1500 m) and occurring in Wisconsin but not in Michigan. Our findings demonstrate that effects of landscape composition and configuration on pest suppression differ across spatial scales and vary regionally. The network-based data mining techniques used here could be useful for disentangling intercorrelated landscape metrics in a variety of other contexts in landscape ecology.
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