Raw data and code for the paper "Field borders provide winter refuge for beneficial predators and parasitoids: a case study on organic farms"

Dataset

Description

These are the data sets associated with our publication "Field borders provide winter refuge for beneficial predators and parasitoids: a case study on organic farms." For this project, we compared the communities of overwintering arthropod natural enemies in organic cultivated fields and wildflower-strip field borders at five different sites in central Illinois.
Abstract:
Semi-natural field borders are frequently used in midwestern U.S. sustainable agriculture. These habitats are meant to help diversify otherwise monocultural landscapes and provision them with ecosystem services, including biological control. Predatory and parasitic arthropods (i.e., potential natural enemies) often flourish in these habitats and may move into crops to help control pests. However, detailed information on the capacity of semi-natural field borders for providing overwintering refuge for these arthropods is poorly understood. In this study, we used soil emergence tents to characterize potential natural enemy communities (i.e., predacious beetles, wasps, spiders, and other arthropods) overwintering in cultivated organic crop fields and adjacent field borders. We found a greater abundance, species richness, and unique community composition of predatory and parasitic arthropods in field borders compared to arable crop fields, which were generally poorly suited as overwintering habitat. Furthermore, potential natural enemies tended to be positively associated with forb cover and negatively associated with grass cover, suggesting that grassy field borders with less forb cover are less well-suited as winter refugia. These results demonstrate that semi-natural habitats like field borders may act as a source for many natural enemies on a year-to-year basis and are important for conserving arthropod diversity in agricultural landscapes.
Date made availableMay 12 2021
PublisherUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Keywords

  • wildflower strips
  • Natural enemy
  • conservation biological control
  • organic farming
  • semi-natural habitat
  • field border

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