Functional traits driving pollinator and predator responses to newly established grassland strips in agricultural landscapes.
Agricultural biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions are declining at alarming rates due to widespread land use intensification. They can only be maintained through targeted landscape management that supports species with different habitat preferences, dispersal capacities and other functional traits that determine their survival. However, we need better understanding whether short-term measures can already improve functional diversity in European agroecosystems. We investigated spatio-temporal responses of bees (solitary bees, bumblebees and honey bees), hoverflies, carabid beetles and spiders to newly established grassland strips in Lower Austria over 3 years, and along a distance gradient to old grasslands. Specifically, we asked if new grasslands, compared to old grasslands and cereal fields, serve as temporal dispersal habitat or corridor, and how species-specific traits affect dispersal patterns. Using a trait-based functional diversity approach, we investigated year and distance effects for nine selected key traits per taxon (e.g. body size, feeding guild and habitat preferences). Our results show that the functional diversity of predators and pollinators (i.e. functional richness and evenness), as well as community-weighted means of selected key traits in new grasslands significantly differed from adjacent cereal fields, but only slowly adjusted to adjacent old grasslands. These effects significantly decreased with increasing distance to old grasslands for carabids and spiders, but not for mobile bees and hoverflies.