Regenerative Agriculture Effects on Invertebrate And Bird Communities And Insect-Provided Ecosystem Services
Thesis - Open Access
Master of Science (MS)
Department / School
Natural Resource Management
Steven R. Chipps
Jonathan G. Lundgren
biodiversity, biological control, conservation, endangered, grassland, pollination
Conventional agricultural practices can have unintended consequences on the environment and wildlife. Insects and birds are declining at rapid rates around the world, and the current conventional agricultural paradigm is a major driver through habitat loss and the intensification of production. Invertebrates in agroecosystems provide services to both farmers and the rest of society. Regenerative systems may promote the functioning of an agroecosystem by influencing invertebrate abundance, diversity, and ecosystem services and mitigate bird and insect declines through conservation practices that increase soil health, reduce disturbances, and increase biological diversity. Here I address knowledge gaps of the effects of regenerative agriculture on two beneficial and declining wildlife groups and the ecosystem services they provide. Foliar invertebrate, predator, and pollinator communities and the insect-provided ecosystem services of nutrient cycling, weed seed granivory, predation, and pollination were evaluated in the context of a regenerative vs conventional cropping system. We also examined the effect of regenerative agriculture on the bird community and their prey source relative to conventional farms. Insects and birds were identified to species and grouped into feeding and habitat categories. The fields were classified as regenerative or conventional by the number of regenerative practices that were employed during that year. Foliar invertebrate diversity, predator abundance, and pollinator abundance and species richness were increased in regenerative fields. Nutrient cycling increased as foliar insect abundance increased. The ecosystem services of predation and pollination were enhanced by regenerative practices. No obvious relationships were found regarding the insect community and insectivorous birds. The water-associated, insectivorous, and overall bird community were negatively influenced by regenerative practices. However, grassland bird and Canadian-listed threatened and endangered bird species were positively influenced, with significantly greater abundances in regenerative fields. The farming practices that are essential to a regenerative system have a positive impact on beneficial insects and North America’s most vulnerable birds. Increased abundance and diversity and enhanced ecosystem services may make farms more resilient and functional in an agriculturally intensive landscape.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Insects -- Ecology.
Number of Pages
South Dakota State University
Michels, Alex, "Regenerative Agriculture Effects on Invertebrate And Bird Communities And Insect-Provided Ecosystem Services" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 341.
Agriculture Commons, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Commons, Entomology Commons, Natural Resources and Conservation Commons, Plant Sciences Commons