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Effects of Climate Change and Various Grassland Management Practices on Grasshopper (Orthoptera) Assemblages

DOI: 10.1155/2014/601813

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Abstract:

Influence of different grassland management practices on Orthoptera assemblages inhabiting humid grassland areas was studied since 2003 to 2011. The examined sites were within the protected area of Balaton Uplands National Park. The physiognomy and climatic conditions of the studied habitats were similar but their land use types were significantly different. After the preliminary analyses of Nonmetric multidimensional scaling, neighbour joining clustering, and Spearman rank correlation, we examined the possible effects of such independent variables as land use (nonmanagement, mowing, grazing), microclimate (humidity and temperature), regional macroclimate (annual and monthly mean temperatures and rainfall), using General Linear Mixed Models, and canonical correlation analysis. Our results showed that the effect of grassland management practices on the organization of Orthoptera assemblages was at least as important as that of macro- and microclimate. Furthermore, grassland management could intensify the influence of several local and regional parameters. These results can help finding the most suitable type of grassland management to conserve the grasshopper assemblages. 1. Introduction Revision of grassland management practices, based on aspects of invertebrate zoology, has become a hot issue due to global warming. Global [1] and local stress factors [2] combined may significantly intensify the effect of each other on assemblages of diverse [3], sensitive, and fast responding [4] insects. This cumulative negative pressure not only could reduce the biodiversity of local fauna but also change the distribution area of several species as well [5, 6]. The landscape structure in the Balaton Uplands Region (Hungary), being rich in natural habitats, is especially suitable to examine the interaction of grassland management and climate based parameters. The relatively large size, natural state [7], and rich structural connectivity [8] of habitats in the study area produced diverse and complex insect assemblages. This richness was also facilitated by a variety of long-used traditional habitat management practices [9]. Under the pressure of climate change, the most successful type of grassland management [10–12] can be determined best through selecting the orthopterans [13] as indicator group, like butterflies [14] and ground-dwelling spiders [15]. Additionally, orthopterans include a relatively limited number of species that can be easily handled [16], allow for objective sampling methods, and are quick and clear habitat indicators [17–22]. The good applicability

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