Drivers of diversity of arable plant communities in one of their european conservation hotspots

The changes of agriculture led to deep transformations of arable plant diversity. The features of arable plant communities are determined by many anthropic, environmental, and geographic drivers. Understanding the relative importance of such drivers is essential for conservation and restoration purposes. In this work, we assessed the effects of agronomic, climatic, geographic, and landscape features on α-diversity, β-diversity, and composition of winter arable plant communities across continental Italy, a European hotspot of arable plant diversity. Using redundancy analysis and variation partitioning, we observe that the selected groups of variables explained a restrained to moderate proportion of the variation in diversity and composition, depending on the response (5.5–23.5%). We confirm previous evidence that climate and geographic location stand out in determining the features of arable plant communities in the country, followed by the type of rural area. The surrounding landscape has a subordinate influence but affects both α and β-diversity. The α-diversity is higher in traditional agricultural areas and in landscapes rich in woody vegetation, while it is lower in warmer areas. Species composition is determined by climate, latitude, and the type of rural area, but not by landscape. Total β-diversity is mainly explained by climate and latitude, and subordinately by the agricultural context and landscape. Its components are explained by latitude and climate (replacement) and agricultural context and climate (richness difference). The local contribution to β-diversity of single sites suggested a good conservation status of the studied communities. We discuss the implications of our findings in the light of conservation and restoration of vanishing arable plant communities.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Biodiversity and Conservation, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: α-diversity; arable weed; β-diversity; biodiversity patter; landscape ecology; variation partitioning.
Fanfarillo, E., Maccherini, S., Angiolini, C. et al. Drivers of diversity of arable plant communities in one of their european conservation hotspots. Biodivers Conserv 32, 2055–2075 (2023).