The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Henrik Smith


Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Trait-dependent responses of flower-visiting insects to distance to semi-natural grasslands and landscape heterogeneity


  • Johan Ekroos
  • Maj Rundlöf
  • Henrik Smith

Summary, in English

Protecting semi-natural grasslands may through spill-over benefit species richness and abundance of flower-visiting insects in linear habitats, such as uncultivated field boundaries, in agricultural landscapes. However, whether local diversity increases both with decreasing distance from potential source habitats and increasing landscape heterogeneity is poorly known due to a general lack of studies replicated at the landscape scale. We analysed if local assemblages of bumblebees, butterflies and hoverflies in linear uncultivated habitats increased with increasing distance to the nearest semi-natural grassland in 12 replicated landscapes along a gradient of landscape heterogeneity in Scania, Southern Sweden. Species richness and abundance of bumblebees and butterflies, but not hoverflies, decreased with increasing distance to semi-natural grasslands, but none of these groups were related to increasing landscape heterogeneity. Further analyses on trait-specific groups revealed significant decreases in the abundance of sedentary and grassland specialist butterflies with increasing distance to assumed source populations, whereas this was not the case concerning mobile species and grassland generalists. The abundance of all bumblebee trait groups decreased with increasing distance to semi-natural grasslands, but only some species (those nesting above ground, with long colony cycles and with small colony sizes) also increased with increasing landscape heterogeneity. We conclude that local species assemblages of flower-visiting insects in linear habitat elements were mainly affected by the occurrence of nearby semi-natural grasslands. In order to conserve diverse assemblages of flower-visiting insects, including the ecological services they provide, it is important to conserve semi-natural grasslands dispersed throughout agricultural landscapes.


  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • Biodiversity
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science

Publishing year







Landscape Ecology





Document type

Journal article




  • Ecology
  • Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


  • Agricultural intensity
  • Breeding habitat preference
  • Colony cycle
  • length
  • Colony size
  • Habitat specialist
  • Larval diet
  • Mobility



Research group

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science


  • ISSN: 1572-9761