Soil functional biodiversity and biological quality under threat: Intensive land use outweighs climate change

Rui Yin, Paul Kardol, Madhav P. Thakur, Iwona Gruss, Gao-Lin Wu (Corresponding author), Nico Eisenhauer, Martin Schädler

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
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Climate change and land use intensification are the two most common global change drivers of biodiversity loss. Like other organisms, the soil meso-fauna are expected to modify their functional diversity and composition in response to climate and land use changes. Here, we investigated the functional responses of Collembola, one of the most abundant and ecologically important groups of soil invertebrates. This study was conducted at the Global Change Experimental Facility (GCEF) in central Germany, where we tested the effects of climate (ambient vs. ‘future’ as projected for this region for the years between 2070 and 2100), land use (conventional farming, organic farming, intensively-used meadow, extensively-used meadow, and extensively-used pasture), and their interactions on the functional diversity (FD), community-weighted mean (CWM) traits (life-history, morphology), and functional composition of Collembola, as well as the Soil Biological Quality-Collembola (QBS-c) index. We found that land use was overwhelmingly the dominant driver of shifts in functional diversity, functional traits, and functional composition of Collembola, and of shifts in soil biological quality. These significant land use effects were mainly due to the differences between the two main land use types, i.e. cropland vs. grasslands. Specifically, Collembola functional biodiversity and soil biological quality were significantly lower in croplands than grasslands. However, no interactive effect of climate × land use was found in this study, suggesting that land use effects on Collembola were independent of the climate change scenario. Overall, our study shows that functional responses of Collembola are highly vulnerable to land use intensification under both climate scenarios. We conclude that land use changes reduce functional biodiversity and biological quality of soil.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107847
Number of pages9
JournalSoil Biology & Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Community-weighted mean
  • Functional composition
  • Functional traits
  • Global change
  • Land use intensification
  • Soil fauna
  • international
  • Plan_S-Compliant_NO


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