Invertebrate and Plant Community Diversity of an Illinois Corn–Soybean Field with Integrated Shrub Willow Bioenergy Buffers

Colleen Zumpf, John J. Quinn, Jules Cacho, Nora Grasse, Maria Cristina Negri, DoKyoung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perennial bioenergy crop production within intensively managed agricultural landscapes has the potential to improve the sustainability, resiliency, and diversity of these landscapes. Perennial crops are ideal because of their high production potential on marginal lands relative to grain crops (e.g., corn and soybean) and their ability to provide additional ecosystem service benefits. When agricultural landscapes are designed to target specific services, determining the non-targeted services of perennial bioenergy crops can further promote their adoption. This 3-year study addresses this proposition by evaluating the canopy invertebrates and understory plant (non-target crop) communities using bee bowls and point measurement of ground coverage, respectively, within a grain field integrated with shrub willow buffer systems designed for nutrient loss reduction. Greater plant diversity and richness were observed under willow than under grain, resembling that of the surrounding riparian community with more perennial, native species. However, the same relationship did not hold true for invertebrates, with seasonality having a significant influence resulting in similar communities observed in willow and grain plots. The presence of unique plant and invertebrate species in both willow and grain crops as well as foraging pollinators on both crop and non-target crop species highlights the importance of habitat heterogeneity for supporting biodiversity and the potential benefits of buffer bioenergy landscape designs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12280
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Biodiversity
  • Bioenergy crops
  • Ecosystem services
  • Integrated cropping system
  • Native plants
  • Pollinators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Invertebrate and Plant Community Diversity of an Illinois Corn–Soybean Field with Integrated Shrub Willow Bioenergy Buffers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this