Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (2): 249-255, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.035

The influence of changes in viticulture management on the butterfly (Lepidoptera) diversity in a wine growing region of southwestern Germany

Thomas SCHMITT, Bettina AUGENSTEIN, Aline FINGER
Biogeographie, Fachbereich VI, Wissenschaftspark Trier-Petrisberg, Universitšt Trier, D-54286 Trier, Germany;

Viticulture is one of the most intensively managed agricultural ecosystems in Europe. Therefore, the conservation problems of vineyards and the ecological benefits of increasing the amount of fallow land are addressed using butterflies as a model group. We established 43 transects, each 100 m long, in a vineyard region in the vicinity of Trier (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany) and recorded the butterflies observed along these transects on 20 occasions from late May to early August 2003. Transects crossed vineyards, fallow land and transitional areas of land. 4041 individuals of 34 species showed the typical pattern of relative abundance with few common and many relatively rare species. Fallow land had more individuals and species and a higher Shannon species diversity index than vineyards. Community evenness and average butterfly dispersal ability were highest in the vineyards. Principal Factor Analyses and UPGMA cluster analysis distinguished between fallow land and vineyards. The difference between early meadow and late forest fallow land areas was not strong, but the former tended to have a higher diversity than the latter. Vineyards thus might act as a sink for butterflies. Therefore, a clear separation between vineyards and fallow land is best for nature conservation. As young fallow land tends to have a higher diversity than older fallow land in this study, it is likely that the conservation value of vineyards for butterflies could be increased by active management of fallow land areas.

Keywords: Conservation measures, dispersal ability, diversity indices, Lepidoptera, Rhineland-Palatinate, succession, transect counts, vineyards

Received: November 1, 2007; Accepted: January 9, 2008; Published: May 15, 2008

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