Perennial woodlands benefit parasitoid diversity, but annual flowering fallows enhance parasitism of wheat aphids in an agricultural landscape

Long Yang, Yingda Zeng, Lei Xu, Minlong Li, Hainuo Wang, Yi Zou, Yanhui Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Agriculture intensification poses serious threats to natural enemy biodiversity and associated ecological services. The conservation or reestablishment of semi-natural habitats is used to counteract negative effects of agriculture intensification on natural enemies. Understanding specific functions of different habitats for natural enemies from a landscape perspective is an important step needed for the development of sustainable agriculture. Here, focusing on parasitoids of wheat aphids, we examined effects of the proportion and connectivity of two main semi-natural habitats (woodlands and fallows) present in landscapes, measured within circular buffer radii of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 km around sampling sites, on parasitoid (mummy) density, biodiversity (Shannon diversity) and associated services (parasitism rate) in 35 wheat fields. We also compared local vegetation communities of these two semi-natural habitats to test whether plant characteristics can shed light on the potential mechanisms driving parasitoids responses to different landscape habitats. We found that the parasitoid diversity was much higher in landscapes dominated by woodlands, while fallows in the landscape promoted parasitoid density and parasitism. Woodlands connectivity at larger scales (such as 1.5 or 2.0 km) displayed positive effects on parasitoid activities, fallows connectivity at the smaller scale (0.5 km) had a positive effect on the hyperparasitism rate. In terms of vegetation characteristics, fallows provided more flowering plants and floral resources, while woodlands suffered less disturbance across years. Local vegetation composition of the semi-natural habitats indeed help explain their different effects on parasitoids at larger landscape scales. We suggested that future research should investigate the role of different types of semi-natural habitats. Conservation management should combine different habitats, such as perennial and annual habitats, to promote the functional complementarity for beneficial organisms. Based on results from local vegetation survey, we also suggested native flowering plants such as Capsella bursa-pastoris L., Lagopsis supina Steph., and Calystegia hederacea Wall. in fallows could be used as functional plants to conserve wheat aphid parasitoids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108184
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Functional complementarity
  • Habitat characteristics
  • Landscape
  • Parasitoids


Dive into the research topics of 'Perennial woodlands benefit parasitoid diversity, but annual flowering fallows enhance parasitism of wheat aphids in an agricultural landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this