Land-use change is a major cause of biodiversity loss. Particularly, the expansion of the agricultural frontier results from an increased resource demand by the human population. A biodiverse community provides positive ecosystem services for natural areas and commercial crops. Ecological intensification aims to increase crop yields while conserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides. This study aimed to assess vertebrate diversity in two commercial crops (apple and cherry) along a gradient of surrounding natural vegetation. We hypothesized that vertebrate composition would differ along the vegetation gradient in the landscape, and species diversity would increase in crops surrounded by more natural or semi-natural vegetation. For this purpose, we set up 54 camera trap points within the orchards. Vertebrate composition, abundance, and diversity were significantly different along the gradient, with those crops surrounded mainly by natural areas having the highest values of diversity and abundance of native species, but exotic species explained most of the differences. We conclude that maintaining natural areas nearby crop fields would enhance their biodiversity and the ecosystemic services native species provide.
- Ecological intensification
- Land use