Arthropod biomass, abundance and species richness trends over 32 years in the agricultural Limpach valley, Switzerland


Recent publications about declines in arthropod biomass, abundance and species diversity raise concerns and call for measures. Agricultural intensification is likely one cause for the negative trends. But rare long-term arthropod surveys conceal trends in arthropod communities in agricultural land. Here, we report about a standardized sampling of arthropod fauna in a Swiss agricultural landscape, repeated over 32 years (1987, 1997 and 2019). We sampled 8 sites covering 4 semi-natural and agricultural habitat types. Four trap types were used to capture a wide range of flying and ground dwelling arthropods between May and July. Over the three sampling periods, 58’255 specimens of 1’343 species were analysed. Mean arthropod biomass, abundance and species richness per trap was significantly higher in 2019 than in prior years and gamma diversity of the study area was highest in 2019. Biomass and abundance increased stronger in the flight traps than in the pitfall traps. The implementation of agri-environmental schemes has improved habitat quality since 1993, while landscape composition and pesticide and fertilizer use remained stable over the study period, both contributing to the findings. The results of this study contrast with outcomes of comparable investigations and highlight the importance of further long-term investigations on arthropod dynamics. Data are provided on request to contact person against bilateral agreement.

Metadata Access
Creator Julia Fürst (WSL); Kurt Bollmann (WSL); Martin M. Gossner (WSL); Peter Duelli (WSL); Martin K. Obrist (WSL)
Publisher EnviDat
Contributor Martin K. Obrist; EnviDat
Publication Year 2020
Funding Reference WSL
Rights Other (Specified in the description)
OpenAccess true
Contact envidat(at)
Language English
Resource Type dataset
Format .pdf; sql; CSV
Size 5380429 bytes; 4269 bytes; 5148268 bytes
Version 1.0
Discipline Environmental Research
Spatial Coverage (7.382W, 47.082S, 7.529E, 47.133N); Switzerland