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What is the plant biodiversity in a cultural landscape? A comparative, multi-scale and interdisciplinary study in olive groves and vineyards (Mediterranean France)

  • Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7, France
  • Université Paris 13 Sorbonne Paris Nord

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URL: In a context of agricultural intensification and increasing urbanization, the biodiversity of farmed landscapes is a key to improve the sustainability of agro-ecosystems. We seek to ascertain the plant biodiversity of farmed and abandoned vineyards and olive-groves and to identify the factors underlying it: natural and cultural; on local, landscape, and regional scales. To do so, we recorded and calculated the floral biodiversity of 106 georeferenced plots and 121 plot edges distributed across 6 French Mediterranean terroirs, surveyed the practices and perception of 55 farmers, and mapped the landscapes of 20 communes in a GIS. Statistical tests proved that richness and spatial diversity on plots are favored by local low intensity management integrating heritage and landscape objectives. The presence of edges augments the richness and diversity around vineyards. The highest value of spatial diversity was found using the terroir variable. Maximum richness is found in olive groves which are maintained by amateur gardeners and located in the middle of the urbanization gradient. The diversity of biological traits is listed according to: (a) an herbaceous diversity gradient explained by management; (b) a specialization gradient explained by landscapes and distance to large urban areas. Our results draw perspectives to improve existing models of the links between agriculture, biodiversity, and landscape, considering cultural and geographical factors. They lead to recommendations regarding the management of landscapes based on local knowledge and good practices.
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Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
What is the plant biodiversity in a cultural landscape? A comparative, multi-scale and
interdisciplinary study in olive groves and vineyards (Mediterranean France).
Marianne Cohen, Clélia Bilodeau, Frédéric Alexandre, Michel Godron, Julien Andrieu,
Etienne Grésillon, Florence Garlatti, Aurélien Morganti
Corresponding author:
M. Cohen
Université Paris Sorbonne, Sorbonne-Universités, ENeC (UMR 8185)
191 rue St Jacques,
75005 Paris, France
E-mail :
Phone : 00 33 1 44 32 14 44
C. Bilodeau, M. Godron, E. Grésillon, F. Garlatti, A. Morganti
Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, LADYSS (UMR 7533)
Case 7001,
75205 Paris Cedex 13, France
F. Alexandre
Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris-Nord, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CRESC (EA 2356)
99, avenue Jean-Baptiste Clément
93430 Villetaneuse, France
J. Andrieu
Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, ESPACE (UMR 7300)
98, boulevard Édouard Herriot - BP 3209
06204 Nice Cedex 03, France
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
In a context of agricultural intensification and increasing urbanization, the biodiversity of
farmed landscapes is a key to improving the sustainability of agro-ecosystems. We seek to
ascertain the plant biodiversity of farmed and abandoned vineyards and olive-groves and to
identify the factors underlying it: natural and cultural; on local, landscape, and regional scales.
To do so, we recorded and calculated the floral biodiversity of 106 georeferenced plots and
121 plot edges distributed across 6 French Mediterranean terroirs, surveyed the practices and
perception of 55 farmers, and mapped the landscapes of 20 communes in a GIS.
Statistical tests proved that richness and spatial diversity on plots are favored by local low
intensity management integrating heritage and landscape objectives. The presence of edges
augments the richness and diversity around vineyards. The highest value of spatial diversity
was found using the terroir variable. Maximum richness is found in olive groves which are
maintained by amateur gardeners and located in the middle of the urbanization gradient. The
diversity of biological traits is listed according to: a) an herbaceous diversity gradient
explained by management; b) a specialization gradient explained by landscapes and distance
to large urban areas.
Our results draw perspectives to improve existing models of the links between agriculture,
biodiversity, and landscape, considering cultural and geographical factors. They lead to
recommendations regarding the management of landscapes based on local knowledge and
good practices.
Key words: agroecosystem; biodiversity; management; perception; heritage; terroir;
urbanization; gradient
Graphical abstract
Olive and vine cultural landscapes are scattered along the urbanization gradient
Richness increases in peri-urban landscape with weak disturbance, heritage concern
Specialization pattern increases with distance to city, natural landscape and slope
Spatial diversity is higher between vineyards and edges, and between home terroir
Geographical and cultural factors improve the existing models of agro-biodiversity
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
In a context of agricultural intensification and increasing urbanization, the biodiversity of
farmed plots is a key to improving the sustainability of farmed landscapes and their provision
of ecosystem services (Plieninger et al., 2014; Termorshuizen and Opdam, 2009; Van Zanten
et al., 2014). This issue finds an echo in the hypothesis of this article, that there is a link
between food products, the manner they are produced in specific areas known in France as
terroirs’, and the ecological quality and cultural resonance of rural landscapes (‘terroir
corresponds to a territory distinguished by a crop associated with practices and landscapes,
INAO-INRA, 2006). This argument appears in European landscape research, programs of
professional bodies and public policies (Buergi, 2002; Burlingame and Dernini, 2010; INAO-
INRA, 2006; Luginbühl, 2012; UNESCO-SCBD, 2014). The biodiversity farmed landscapes
can foster is also protected by specific public policies (Allag-Dhuisme et al., 2010;
Cambecèdes et al., 2012). In the Mediterranean region, olive and wine-growing landscapes
offer two kinds of diversity, natural and cultural, they are thus expressions of this kind of
agriculture. They are considered to be cultural landscapes, or "combined works of nature and
man" with deep historical roots (ICOMOS, 2005; Loumou and Giourga, 2003; Luengo, 2011;
Naveh, 1997; UNESCO-SCBD, 2014).
In rural landscapes shaped by agriculture, links between agriculture and biodiversity can be
viewed from several different angles (Antrop, 2003; Poudevigne and Baudry, 2003). First,
agriculture is a form of ecosystem disturbance, the intensity, regime, and spatial extension of
which depend on farming practices and crop types (Van der Maarel, 1993). Second, the
influence of economic variables on biodiversity is not easy to demonstrate (Zeichmeister et
al., 2003). Third, numerous studies have focused on how agricultural landscapes are perceived
(examples: Boillat et al., 2004; Buijs et al., 2006; Tatoni, 1991); but few have demonstrated
the role of cultural factors in shaping their biological traits (Cohen, 2003; Friedberg, 1997;
Grésillon, 2009). As cultural factors interact with farmers or gardenerspractices, this role is
indirect and consequently complex. In addition, certain types of agricultural systems
considered to have “high nature value”, such as extensive grasslands or olive groves located
in natural areas, are associated with high biodiversity (Cohen et al., 2010; Hoogeveen et al.,
2001; Poudevigne and Baudry, 2003). Given that they are established for many years, the
functioning of groves should correspond somewhat to those of ecosystems which have
experienced average to little disturbance (Bruggisser et al., 2010; Camarsa et al., 2010;
Loumou and Giourga, 2003); this similarity is reflected in their biological traits (Pujadas-
Salvá, 1986; Spanou et al., 2013). More generally, in their model linking agriculture,
landscape and biodiversity, Le Roux et al. (2008) consider arboriculture to be an intermediary
case positioned between intensive and extensive agro-ecosystems.
Studies of farmed landscape biodiversity most frequently are undertaken on a local scale in a
specific region and involve a single crop type; they generally focus on functional groups
which may improve crop production (auxiliary species) and are sensitive to intensification
(Altieri, 1999; Hoffmann and Greef, 2003; Coutinot, 2012). Intensification is linked to
agricultural practices, depending on their type, frequency and intensity (Nascimbene et al.,
2013; Zeichmeister et al., 2003). Among these practices, weeding and ploughing harm
biodiversity more than mowing, sowing or grazing (Bolo et al., 2009; Bruggisser et al., 2010;
Cohen et al., 2010; Firbank et al., 2008; Gago et al., 2007; Hoffmann and Greef, 2003;
Jauzein, 2001; McLaughlin and Mineau, 1995; Pain in Durand et al., 2013; Sanguankeo and
León, 2011). Fertilization and irrigation have a direct positive effect on herbaceous biomass
and plant competition (Grime, 1979). The influence of the agriculture type, organic or
conventional, is hard to isolate from other factors (Bruggisser et al., 2010). In addition,
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
natural landscapes and ecological corridors surrounding agricultural plots, as well as small
size of plots, are favorable to biodiversity (Belo et al., 2009; Chateil and Porcher, 2015;
Fahrig et al., 2015; Fried et al., 2008; Roux et al., 2008). By contrast, the abandonment of
olive groves and vineyards has a favorable short term effect on biodiversity, but it becomes
unfavorable in the medium term due to competition mechanisms (Bonet and Pausas, 2004;
Houssard et al., 1980, Potts et al., 2006). On the scale of a century, the post-farming
succession on abandoned terraced plots is influenced by fires, the destruction of walls, and
later land use patterns (Boillat et al., 2004, Tatoni, 1991).
The role of abiotic factors has been studied in agro-ecosystems which have experienced less
human-driven transformation (grasslands: Bennie et al., 2006; Cohen, 2003; Grime, 1979).
Nascimbene et al. (2013) demonstrated the favorable effect of steep slopes with manual
mowing; due to a lack of data on management, Allen et al. (2006) could not verify possible
interactions between this parameter and soil types.
Comparative studies covering several regions or crop types are less frequent. Spanou et al.
(2013) measured a similar level of diversity in both Greek vineyards and olive groves. Le
Roux et al. (2008, for France) and Firbank et al. (2008, for Great Britain) propose a general
model of agriculture, landscape and biodiversity relations, complementing the approach
developed by McLaughlin and Mineau (1995, for Canada) and Hoogeveen et al. (2001, for
Europe). Jauzein (2001) and Fried et al. (2008) demonstrated that agricultural intensification
leads to an increase in generalist plants replacing messicole species. According to Mayfield et
al. (2010), species loss related to intensification is not necessarily paired with a loss of
functional diversity. The environmental filter effect has been studied along urbanization
gradients, and is due to the reduction and fragmentation of habitats and selection pressure
linked to management practices, which favor generalist species at the expense of specialist
species (McKinney, 2006).
Our work focus on the environmental quality of olive-groves and vineyards by analyzing how
plant biodiversity contributes to the services provided by these cultural landscapes. We
compare six French Mediterranean terroirs presenting sufficiently diverse configurations to
enable the first lessons to be drawn on a regional scale. In addition, heavy urbanization
pressure on olive groves and vineyards presents an opportunity to verify the hypothesis
concerning the effect of the environmental filter on the biodiversity associated with farmed
landscapes (Angles, 2014). Our work has two original features: 1) we test factors at local,
landscape and regional scales; and 2) in addition to agronomic, environmental and landscape
factors, we also test cultural and socio-economic factors which generally are neglected in, or
are disconnected from, studies of biodiversity (Allen et al., 2006; Durand et al., 2013). In fine,
we assess the similarity of these groves and vineyards to ecosystems with average levels of
disturbance, and we propose a model of vineyard and olive grove plant biodiversity which
takes into account the actions and perceptions of society. These objectives are pursued
through a holistic and interdisciplinary approach (Antrop, 2003).
This approach consists of studying the quantitative, spatial, and functional dimensions of
plant biodiversity at nested scales: the farm plot and its internal heterogeneity, the plot and its
surrounding edges, the crop type and the home terroir. We further test the influence of factors
at different spatial scales. On the local level, we hypothesize that plant biodiversity is
influenced: a) directly by disturbances engendered by farming practices according to their
intensity; b) indirectly by cultural variables, c) weakly or indirectly by environmental
variables. On the plot (including the surrounding edges) and landscape scales, we hypothesize
that a high proportion of natural landscapes around groves and vineyards favors agricultural
plant biodiversity. On large geographical scales, we have two hypotheses: a) land use,
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
economic specialization and development projects of a terroir have a direct and/or indirect
influence on plant biodiversity; b) the environmental filter effect increases with proximity to
large urban areas.
By contributing to a better understanding of Mediterranean arboriculture biodiversity and its
determinants, our study should help to identify the farming and landscape practices which
best favor plant biodiversity, and, consequently, the multi-functionality and sustainability of
vine and olive cultural landscapes. Finally, the inclusion of cultural, socio-economic, and
geographic factors in our analysis renders it possible to offer realistic recommendations for
plant biodiversity management.
2.1. Presentation of the case study
The study was carried out in 20 French communes situated on 6 terroirs in the Mediterranean
region (Figure 1; the commune is the lowest administrative unit in France). A terroir usually
is linked with agricultural products that bear protected designation of origin (PDO) labels, are
marketed through value chains, direct sales, or are (partially) home consumed. Specifically,
wine-growing terroirs are structured in particular around value chains. The economic viability
of the farms relies on the research of a high-quality niche product (ex. Olive oil in all terroirs,
Pic-St-Loup and Bandol wine) or a renewing vision of cooperatives (ex. new PDO label for
Terrasses-du-Larzac terroir. Olive-growing plays a much smaller role in Southern France
than vineyards, but it has been revived creatively over the past few decades. After a
devastating frost in 1956, olive groves have been rehabilitated by preserving or coppicing
local varieties of trees which are centuries old, or by planting new varieties of young trees,
and by restoring the heritage value of low walls. These renovations were carried out by
individuals working alone or were instigated by local non-profit projects. In addition, organic
or biodynamic agriculture is practiced on 22% of the farms studied, with little difference
between the crop types, or across the terroirs studied.
The landscapes of wine and olive-growing terroirs differ in their morphology and topography
(Table 1). The composition of the landscapes varies according to the proportion of space
dedicated to vines and olive trees, and the urbanization pressure, assessed by the percentage
of built-up plots and the distance to a large urban area. In general, natural landscapes cover
large areas on the hillsides, and are detached from the agricultural landscapes and buildings
located further down.
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
Table 1: Land-use in the communes studied and average characteristics of plots in the 6
terroirs studied
Scale of the
Land-use of IGN
PDO Bandol
PDO Pic-St-Loup
PDO Terrasses du Larzac
Pays d’Aubagne
Nice Hinterland
% of surface
in the
planted with
Other crops
Built surfaces
[built olive-
groves] and
20 [2]
10 [<1]
3 [<0.5]
<1 [0]
39 [4]
18 [2]
Feature* or
value of the
Slope (°)
Altitude (m)
Size of plots (m²)
Distance from
the large city
centroid (km)
Large city
Sources: ORTHO IGN, IGN Plot map, IGN DTM, IGN Topographic map1/50000, Photo-interpretation: M. Cohen, F. Garlatti, C. Bilodeau,
J. Andrieu (see § * Chi squared test (p<0.0001), ** Kruskal-Wallis test (p<0.0001).
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
2.2. Sampling
The plant biodiversity of the vineyards and olive groves was studied in six terroirs, chosen to
be meaningful of the diversity of olive and wine growing systems by the Patermed scientific
team (Angles, Dir., 2014). Among the farmers listed in these six terroirs, we selected farms
located along an urbanization gradient in 20 communes (Figure 1) and depending from their
management intensity. The advantages of a sampling method along a landscape gradient were
noted by Poudevigne and Baudry (2003). Finally, fifty-five people among this list agreed to
receive the authors on their farms, plots were chosen to represent the management intensity
Figure 1: Location map
They shared information about their farm types, farming practices and views of their activity,
the history of their groves or vineyards, and their perceptions of agricultural landscapes. The
farmers also pointed out abandoned grove and vineyard plots where the vegetation could be
inventoried despite the absence of their owners. GPS geo-referenced botanical surveys were
conducted on 106 cultivated and abandoned vineyard and olive grove plots; 69 plots were
surrounded by edges of contrasting vegetation described by 121 edge surveys; a total of 227
surveys were thus made (Table 2). Another set of 7 surveys, collected in vineyards with
another protocol, was used only to calculate the proportion of vineyards surrounded with
contrasting edges.
Table 2: Number and location of the studied plots and borders
Olive groves
Country of Aubagne
PDO Bandol
Hinterland of Nice
PDO Pic-St-Loup
PDO Terrasses-du-Larzac
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ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
2.3. Material
2.3.1. Botanical survey protocol
The surveys were made in the spring between 2010 and 2013. On the plots, ten 1m² quadrats
associated with two needle points were set down at regular intervals along the longest
diagonal of the plot. The first quadrat was set down between point 0 and 1 meter, with a
wooden frame across a measuring tape and the needle points at the intersections, the second
quadrat at a distance equal to one tenth of the length of the diagonal of the plot and so on. The
area studied was identical for all of the plots regardless of their size, and the frequency of
species takes into account their frequency in the quadrats and their coverage rates to add
realism (Jauzein, 2001). On the contrasting edges of 69 plots, an inventory was made on an
area 2 meters wide and as long as the edge. This allowed us to approach plant biodiversity on
interlocking scales, from the patch (quadrat) and the plant community (plot), up to the scale of
the plot and its edges. The list of plant species was updated ( and their
biological traits were specified (Julve, 1998).
2.3.2. Plot management on local scale
Data on plot management were obtained through observation and farmer surveys. Four crop
types were identified: olive groves, vineyards, abandoned, burnt. The surveys and field
observations of the burnt plots were verified with old aerial photos (
Disturbances due to agricultural practices were classed into three levels nil, low and high
based on their magnitude according to the literature, regularity and spatial extension (Van der
Maarel, 1993). For example, ploughing or use of herbicides are considered as intense
practices, while grazing or mowing are low intensity ones. Inputs like irrigation and
fertilization were classed into three levels based on their frequency. Pruning and
phytosanitary treatment practices were not taken into account in this study because their
influence on the biodiversity of the herbaceous strata on plots is fairly indiscriminant.
Farmers’ views of their activity are cultural variables which interact with agricultural
practices and can influence floral diversity. Two types were considered here, a professional
view and a heritage view. A professional view of the activity is defined by a quest for
efficiency and conformance with professional standards, while a heritage view integrates
landscape objectives into farm management, along with a desire to respect the life and
diversity of cultivated plants and animals (for example, bees for their own or neighbors’
honey production). In this case, agricultural practices are implemented more cautiously:
undesirable species are periodically and manually uprooted or weeded in such a way as to
protect old stumps of local varieties. These practices aim to conserve or reinforce the esthetic
quality of the farmed plot according to farmers' cultural models (well-maintained walls, trees
artfully pruned, trellising with wood stakes, and flowery lawn; Angles, 2014). Heritage,
esthetic, and landscape objectives are most often associated with low disturbance and olive-
growing, and professional strategy with high disturbance and vine-growing (Chi-squared test,
2.3.3. Plot environment at different scales
On the local scale, the central GPS points of the 106 plots and their edges were integrated into
a GIS (Arcgis 10.2®). A DTM (IGN®) was used to calculate the slope, altitude and
orientation of each plot. The geological substratum type was extracted from BRGM’s
geological map (
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
In 20 communes, the land use of IGN® plots was determined through photo-interpretation of
ORTHO IGN® aerial photography (2010) and was classed into 4 types: artificial-urban,
farmed, semi-natural and natural. This classification is based on both the morphology and
function of landscapes. Building density varies in urban plots, but the primary function of an
artificial-urban classed IGN plot is human habitation. The results of this landscape mapping
indicate that our survey sample was coherent with land use (Tables 1 and 2).
The percentage of land use types were calculated along the length of plot edges, within a 500
meter radius around the plots, and on the commune where the plots were located. The slope
was taken into consideration to calculate the distance of 500 meters. The Shannon index
describes the diversity of land use on plot edges (Table 3, Appendix A).
By calculating the distance to the centroid of the closest large urban area, plots were situated
along an urbanization gradient (Table 1, source: IGN 1/50000).
2.4. Calculations of indexes at the different scales
Several indexes were calculated with Dyalog® software package, Xlstat® and R®
software, to grasp the quantitative, spatial and functional diversity (interactions with fauna
and with the soil, climate adaptation, succession stage) on the plots and their landscapes
(Lavorel and Garnier 2002) (Table 3, Appendix A). Floral richness is significantly correlated
with structural and Shannon’s diversity indexes (r²=0.860, p<0.0001 and r²=0.927, p<0.0001).
Table 3: Calculated indexes at the different scales
Biological traits*
frequency index
(Godron et al., 1983)
(Godron, 2012)
richness Rf
(Godron et al.,
Biological trait
index IBt
(Kent 2012)
Index ISs
(Kent, 2012)
(Godron, 2012)
diversity IEd
(Shannon Index, in
Kent 2012)
Crop type
*Biological type, chorology, pollination mode, seed dispersal mode, succession stage of the optimal habitat
2.5. Data processing
Our multi-scale data sets were statistical processed with Xlstat® software and Dyalog®
software package to analyze and determine the relationships between the floral, agronomic,
landscape, cultural, and geographic data. Our step by step analysis relies on the use of
complementary treatments. A first set of treatments are based on rather simple methods
belonging to inferential statistics. Statistical tests were chosen according to the nature and
distribution of variables: relationships between qualitative variables (Chi squared test);
between qualitative and quantitative variables (Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests);
between quantitative variables (Pearson’s correlation coefficient). Principal component
analysis (PCA, Spearman type) was finally applied in a synthetic purpose to give an image
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
of the relations between the biological traits indexes with, successively, three sets of variables
at local, landscape and regional scales, introduced as supplementary variables. Previously, we
checked the links between quantitative (biological traits indices, explanatory variables, r>0.8)
and qualitative variables (Chi squared test) and create composite variables to avoid
redundancy. Another treatment was based on non-inferential methods to measure the links
between species groups, the crop type and the home terroir. We obtained convergent results
by both methods, and we report below the more significant ones.
3.1. Diversified, ecologically interesting flora
Among the 646 species inventoried, ten were observed in over one third of the surveys and
are presented here in decreasing order: Crepis sancta, Geranium molle, Bromus madritensis,
Asparagus acutifolius, Crepis vesicaria subsp. taraxacifolia, Hordeum murinum, Daucus
carota, Lolium rigidum, Sanguisorba minor and Rubia peregrina.
The chorology and the biological traits of these plants are similar to those of the ensemble of
flora found on the plots: 43.5% were Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean species, less than
expected in this region; 40% were annual species, a form of adaptation to drought and a
response to agricultural practices that periodically destroy the herbaceous cover (Jauzein
2001). We found two exotic species out of the 34 listed by Jauzein (2001) in French
Mediterranean crops. While neither olive trees nor grape vines require insects to pollinate
their flowers, about half of the species depend on fauna for reproduction: 54% were insect-
pollinated species and 43% zoochore species. The plots studied contain species of different
dynamic stages: annual (40%) and perennial herbaceous (38%), shrubby (18%) and forest
(4%) vegetation.
Nearly one out of six species in olive and vineyard landscapes are sufficiently rare to be given
national or regional protection (115 out of 646 species; MNHN-FCBN-UICN 2012;
Cambecèdes et al., 2012). Nonetheless, nearly 3/4 of these 115 species are on the limits of
their geographic area or messicole species which are endangered outside the Mediterranean
region and are a legacy of protohistoric farming activities (Jauzein, 2001).
Richness, biological traits and protection of plant species give a comprehensive picture of the
biodiversity of these agricultural lands.
3.2 On the plot scale
3.2.1. Management intensity influences structural diversity
The spatial distribution of plant species within a plot, measured by the structural diversity
index IStd, is influenced by crop type, farmers’ views of the activity (Kruskal-Wallis test,
p<0.0001), disturbance level and secondarily by the exposure of the plot (Mann-Whitney test,
p<0.0001; r=-0.226, p=-0.023, respectively). The cases most conducive to the
homogenization of herbaceous cover are burnt plots, plots farmed professionally, intensively
farmed plots, and plots located on slopes with little exposure to the sun.
3.2.2. Management intensity and crop type influence floral richness
Floral richness Rf on plots ranges from 14 to 86 species. Floral richness and number of
protected species vary as a function of crop type (Mann-Whitney test, p=0.001). On average,
olive groves and abandoned plots present a considerably higher floral richness and a greater
Draft manuscript published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 212, pp. 175186,
ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
number of protected species than vineyards and burnt plots (51 and 7 species, 29 and 4
species, respectively). Floral richness also vary as a function of intensity of practices and, in
a very significant manner, farmers' view of the activity (Kruskal-Wallis test, p=0.039 and
<0.0001, respectively). Little disturbed plots and those owned by individuals pursuing
heritage objectives present a higher mean number of species than highly disturbed plots and
plots farmed professionally (55 and 54 species, 32 and 31 species, respectively).
3.2.3. Crop type has little influence on assemblages of species
The frequency analysis indicates that crop type has little influence on floristic composition
(1.64 binons, binon is the standard unit on
), due to the somewhat random
assemblages of species in agricultural environments (many opportunistic and annual species).
Nonetheless, a group of widely distributed species is significantly associated with vineyards:
Cynodon dactylon, [Vitis vinifera], Lolium rigidum, Lactuca serriola, Lamium amplexicaule,
Diplotaxis erucoides, Convolvulus arvensis, and Sonchus oleraceus. These species are highly
resistant to intense disturbance engendered by repeated ploughing and chemical treatments,
thanks to their vegetative vigor or long-lasting flowering period.
3.2.4. Two biodiversity gradients depending on biological traits
The first two axes of the PCA of the biological trait indexes IBt of the 106 plots describe
59.95% of the variability and indicate two gradients (Figure 2). The herbaceous biodiversity
gradient, described by axis 1, is strongly correlated with structural and the Shannon’s
diversity indices (r=0.910, 0.832, p<0.0001), themselves correlated with floral richness (§
2.4). It orders surveys according to the value of indexes of certain biological traits and the
extent of plant cover.
The traits most highly correlated with this axis are an annual lifetime, correlated with mixed-
pollination, wind-borne seed dispersal and European distribution (0.8<r<0.9). The ensemble
of traits correlated with axis 1 indicates herbaceous species with diverse ecological functions.
Annuals, (0.8<r<0.9) perennials and bulbs (0.5<r<0.4) are associated with dynamic stages
ranging from annual sparse and crop commensal grasslands, herbaceous ecotones and
prairies, and including wastelands (0.5<r<0.8). All geographical distribution areas (0.5<r<0.9)
and pollination and seed dispersal modes (0.6<r<0.9) are represented, with the exception of
endozoochory. This gradient is mainly explained by management intensity. Low disturbed
olive-groves with heritage objective and important inputs are positively correlated (r=0.532
and 0.294 respectively), while strongly disturbed vineyards with professional objectives and
other strongly disturbed plots are negatively correlated (r=-0.396 and -0.281 respectively).
This is also the case for burnt plots (r=-0.222).
The biodiversity specialization gradient sets specialist species in the advanced stages of plant
succession against generalist species in disturbed environments (axis 2, Figure 2). The traits
of specialist species are the following: endozoochory, correlated with woody phanerophytes
and chamaephytes, advanced dynamic stages (woods, garrigues, grasslands, shrubs)
(0.7<r<0.8), Mediterranean origin, correlated with insect pollination (0.6<r<0.7), perennial
herbs, (0.5<r<0.6). By contrast, generalist species have the following traits: cosmopolitan
origin (-0.5>r>-0.6); less dependence on fauna: mixed insect-pollinated, short lived, early
dynamic stages: annual wastelands and crop commensal grasslands (-0.3>r>-0.5). Steep
slopes, incidental disturbance by fire and abandoned plots are associated with the specialist
pattern (r=0.570, 0.512 and 0.320, respectively). The average slope varies from 14.6° on olive
groves, abandoned and burnt plots, characteristic of the specialist pattern, to 6.3° on vineyards
highly disturbed with a professional purpose (r=-0.336) characteristic of the generalist pattern
(Kruskal-Wallis test, p=0.0002).
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Figure 2: Axis 1-2 Plan of Biological traits PCA Analysis.
3.3. On plot and surrounding edges scale and on landscape scale
3.3.1. Less floral richness on the edges
The mean floral richness is significantly lower on edges than on plots (27 and 43 species
respectively, Mann-Whitney test, p<0.0001). The mean number of protected species is lower
on edges and vineyards than on olive groves and abandoned plots (4 and 7 species
respectively; Mann-Whitney test, p<0.0001). This may be related to the edaphic constraint
(low walls), disturbance (paths, use of herbicides) or to competition for light on tree-covered
edges. However, among the 646 species inventoried, 130 (20%) were only found on edges,
which thus contribute to increasing plant biodiversity on the plot and surrounding edges scale.
3.3.2. Plot-edge similarity depends on crop type
The floral similarity between plots and their edges ISs depends in part on crop type (Kruskal-
Wallis test, p=0.012). The highest values of similarity between edge and plot are observed on
burnt wasteland (mean=0.65), due to the homogenization and selection effect of fire already
demonstrated in section 3.1.1. By contrast, the similarity index is lowest in the vineyards
(mean=0.23). Their edges contain specific species that double on average the floral richness at
the plot and edges scale (k=2.08±1.21); the species number vary from 15 to 62 species to 35
to 105 species, respectively without and with edges. The biological traits of edge species are
significantly different from those of vineyard plots (Chi squared test, p<0.0001); perennial
herbaceous species with Euro-Asian and Mediterranean distribution ranges characteristic of
prairie and wasteland stages are over represented in vineyard edges. Nonetheless, the mean
number of protected species is identical on the edges and on vineyard plots (4), and 9 out 39
of vineyards studied (23%) are not surrounded by contrasting edges.
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3.3.3. A regional, contagion or selection effect homogenizes the flora around the plots
Between the plots and the edges, the spatial diversity index ISpd is 0.442. In 31% of the
surveys among which the Hamming distance Dh was the lowest (<60), the similarity factors
are, in order of frequency: home terroir (77.1%), contagion effect due to proximity (55.7%),
selection effect due to the management mode (35.7%), crop type (28.6%) or fire (11.4%), and
exposure (8.5%).
3.3.4. The diversity of edges is linked to crop type and to the plant biodiversity pattern
of plots
The diversity of edge land use IEd is almost twice less on burnt plots (mean Shannon index
=0.421) than on plots that have not been burned (0.814, Kruskal-Wallis test, p=0.003). This
result reflects the homogenization effect of fire, already observed in sections 3.1.1 and 3.2.2.
Urbanized edges and edge diversity are negatively correlated with the specialist biodiversity
pattern described by Axis 2 of PCA (r=-0.339, -0.290 r respectively). We observe the reverse
for natural edges (r=0.266).
3.3.5. The landscape has a different influence on richness and biodiversity pattern
A farmed landscape within a radius of 500 meters around plots and on the edge of plots is
unfavorable to Shannon’s diversity index (r=-0.251, p=0.009, r=-0.216, p=0.026
respectively), itself correlated with floral richness, while the reverse is the case for edges with
urban features or terraces (r=0.266 with p=0.006 and r=0.219 with p=0.024 respectively). A
farmed landscape is also negatively correlated with a specialist biodiversity pattern while
natural and semi-natural landscapes are positively correlated (r=-0.380, r=0.291 and 0.249
3.4. On terroir and regional scales
3.4.1. Floral richness and structural diversity partially depend on home terroir
Belonging to a terroir is linked significantly with structural diversity (Kruskal-Wallis test,
p=0,008); it is also linked with floral richness Rf when the cultivated vineyards and olive
groves in the terroirs of Bandol and Terrasses du Larzac are differentiated (Kruskal-Wallis
test, p<0.0001, Table 4). Bandol vineyards, maintained with frequent chemical and
mechanical treatments in accordance with the standards of the Bandol PDO wine sector, show
the lowest values, while olive-groves maintained for leisure purposes or managed organically
the highest.
Table 4: Average floral richness by terroir and by type of cultivated crop
Pays d’Aubagne
PDO Bandol
Nice hinterland
PDO Pic-St-Loup
PDO Terrasses-du-Larzac
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3.4.2. Floristic composition depends on home terroir
The spatial diversity ISpd linked to terroir is equal to 0.634, which means that floristic
composition differs according to the terroir. The spatial diversity linked to edges is weaker
(0.442) and the minimums were observed in section 3.2.3 when a group of locations plots
and edges belonged to the same terroir (77.1% of cases).
3.4.3. Biological traits depends on home terroir
The home terroir has greater influence on the floristic composition of plots and edges (2.48
binons) than crop type (1.64 binons, see section 3.1.3). Among the species very significantly
linked to terroir, the proportion of Mediterranean species varies in the range 3:1 and annual
species in the range of 2:1 (Figure 3). The highest proportion of Mediterranean species in the
Pays d’Aubagne is due to the influence of fires, lower latitude and sunny-oriented terraces
while the lowest are in the hinterlands of Nice and Pic-Saint-Loup terroir, due to higher
latitude (Figure 1). In the hinterlands of Nice, the modified Mediterranean climate, due to
higher latitude and altitude, and the frequency of irrigation, on half of the plots, favor
perennial herbaceous species (Figure 1 and Table 1). The proportion of cosmopolitan species
and species of early succession stages increases with the intensity of management (maximum:
PDO Bandol); thicket, garrigue and forest species characterize the natural landscape and
extensive heritage management mode of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.
Figure 3: Geographical origins (A) and succession stages of the optimal habitat (B) of species
highly related with the terroirs
3.4.4. Place of the terroirs in the plant biodiversity gradients
Terroirs are significantly linked with agricultural practices studied on local level (Chi squared
test, p<0.0001). For example, in Bandol, highly disturbed vineyards for professional
objectives are over-represented while in Saint-Guilhem-Le-Désert this is the case for lowly
disturbed olive-groves with heritage objectives. Their floristic traits are also partly explained
by the rate of urbanization (28.6 and <3%, respectively).
3.4.5. Edges are more or less diversified and contrasting depending on the terroir
Edges are more diversified on the Bandol and Pic-Saint-Loup wine-growing terroirs than on
the rest (mean IEd=1.01 and 0.69 respectively; Kruskal-Wallis test, p=0.0002). The increase of
floral richness due to contrasting edges around vineyards is higher in Pic-St-Loup than in
Bandol and Terrasses du Larzac (k=2.6 and 1.7, respectively, Mann Whitney test, p=0.023); it
is the same for the proportion of plots with contrasting edges and the complexity of their
vegetation (100% and 65% of the plots, forested and herbaceous edges, respectively).
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3.4.6. Landscape of the commune and distance to city influence plant biodiversity
The rate of farmed landscape in the home commune of the plot is negatively and weakly
correlated with structural and Shannon’s diversity indexes, themselves correlated with floral
richness (r=-0.211, p= 0.0.030, and r=-0.227, p=0.022). The specialization gradient is
positively correlated with the rate of natural landscape in the home commune, itself
negatively correlated with the rate of built surfaces, and with the distance to the closest large
city centroid (r=0.450 and 0.265 respectively). The rate of farmed landscape in the commune
is highly correlated (r=0.819) with the rate of farmed landscape in a radius of 500 meters
around the plots, for this reason it was not included in this analysis; this correlation suggests a
very homogeneous landscape, unfavorable to specialist species. These results illustrate the
role of environmental filter in peri-urban and in farmed landscapes.
3.5. A synthetic image of vineyard and olive-grove plant biodiversity
We synthesize the ensemble of results to give in an image of the relations between the two
gradients of biodiversity and factors on local and regional scales corresponding to different
services rendered by these multi-functional landscapes: ecological, economic and cultural
(Table 5). The herbaceous diversity gradient is mainly linked with local factors and the
specialization gradient with regional factors; landscape and edges composition are variables
of minor importance. The map allows one to visualize the diversity of situations between and
within the terroirs, and as a function of their location within a gradient going from natural to
peri-urban landscapes (Figure 4).
Table 5: Gradients of plant biodiversity and multi-scale variables (correlations >0.4 are in
bold characters)
Multi-scale variables in
supplementary position in
3 successive PCA
Herbaceous richness and
diversity (PCA-Axis1)
Specialization of biological
traits (PCA-Axis2)
vineyards, for
Nil or burnt
vineyards, for
al conditions
Steep slope
Flat land
and edges
Natural and
natural edges
urbanized and
Landscape in
the home
lowly built
Distance to
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Figure 4: Patterns of plant biodiversity of 106 studied plots in 6 terroirs
We shall successively address two points in this discussion: the validation of our hypotheses
concerning the role of factors explaining plant biodiversity of agro-ecosystems, and the
comparison of our results with the agro-landscape models. For this purpose, we project our
results in the models proposed by Hoogeven et al. (2001), Le Roux et al. (2008) and Firbank
et al. (2008).
4.1. How may vineyard and olive grove plant biodiversity be explained?
This study chose to explore several hypotheses based on the conviction that the plant
biodiversity of cultural landscapes like Mediterranean olive groves and vineyards depends on
a complex gamut of factors, even more so today as they are undergoing fast-paced change due
to their proximity to very dynamic, large urban centers. Four type of variables were tested.
First, we examined the role of the intensity of agricultural practices on floral richness (Fried et
al., 2008). The comparison of our results with the model proposed by Hoogeven et al. (2001)
enables the crop types to be positioned along a gradient of intensity, in keeping with our
hypothesis and with the literature (olive groves: Camarsa et al., 2010; Loumou and Giourga,
2003; vineyards: Bruggisser et al., 2010; abandoned and burnt plots: Bonet and Pausas, 2004;
Houssard et al., 1980; Potts et al., 2006, Tatoni, 1990; Figure 5). In contrast with the results
obtained in Greece by Spanou et al. (2013), the floral richness of studied olive groves is well
above that of vineyards (k=1.76 compared to k=0.81). This is coherent with the higher
intensity of agricultural practices on vineyards, implemented to control the competition effect
of the herb layer on vine stocks. In addition, mean crop area is larger in vine terroir (Table 1),
and the negative influence of this factor on biodiversity has been shown by Fahrig et al.
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Figure 5: Species richness and agriculture intensity
Second, we examined the role of cultural and socio-economic factors. On the plot scale,
agricultural practice is implemented with more or less care according to farmers’ views of the
activity, meaning the manner by which farmers perceive their activity and relationship with
the environment, orienting themselves towards professional objectives or integrating a
concern for heritage and landscape. This cultural factor is well-related with species richness
and herbaceous diversity in our sample. On the terroir scale, farmer associations play a role,
guided by a vision of the territory and a dominant economic model, and implementing
practices oriented by organized and informal professional structures. However, the link
between terroir and plant biodiversity is more complex than expected. It is fairly weak with
richness and structural diversity, due to the diversity of crop types in some terroirs; it is
significant with spatial diversity and the plant biodiversity pattern, due to interactions
between climate, practices and landscapes differences, which is in line with the definition of
terroir given by INAO-INRA (2006).
Third, environmental factors have, as expected, little or no influence on richness and
structural diversity, except slope which is linked with the specialization gradient and
orientation, negatively correlated with structural diversity.
The feature shared by farmers’ views, terroir and slope is that they are all indirect factors.
Cultural and socio-economic factors interact with practices (Friedberg, 1997). Slope would
favor the abandonment of plots (it is hard to work on them) and the spread of fire (ICONA,
1990). In contrast with the studies of Allen et al. (2006) and Nascimbene et al. (2013), slope
is not an environmental factor with a direct influence on plant biodiversity. Similarly, the
positive influence of the small size of plots and the age of groves on biodiversity, due to
ecological processes according to Fahrig et al. (2015) and Spanou et al. (2013), is probably
linked to the more careful practices on old and small groves in our study case, according to
farmers’ survey.
Finally, landscape and urbanization have a complex influence on plant biodiversity, due to
their role on environmental filtering (McKinney, 2006), and on the mix of species pool
(Mayfield et al., 2010), illustrating the individualization of two gradients of plant biodiversity,
discussed below. This influence is more noticeable at regional scale than on landscape scale
(edges and radius of 500 meters around the plots).
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4.2. Vineyards and olive groves: agro-landscape models?
Firbank et al. (2008) proposed a conceptual model to characterize the three dimensions of
agricultural intensification and their effects on biodiversity: land use, landscape structure, and
agricultural practices, corresponding to three interlocking scales region, landscape and plot.
Nonetheless, they consider that such a model is not realistic if the richness of just one
taxonomic group is considered as an indicator of biodiversity. On the regional scale, the most
appropriate indicators would be those which consider changes in the biological traits of
species rather than the richness of a taxonomic group. While we used only one taxonomic
group, namely plants, our results confirm this theory because floral richness is determined by
local plot management, while biological traits are related to land use and slight differences in
climate observed at the regional scale. As Mayfield et al. (2010) observed, species and
functional diversity losses related to land use intensification are not always associated. The
individualization of the two plant biodiversity gradients, the first for diversity and herbaceous
cover, itself correlated with species richness, the second for trait specialization, would
confirm this decoupling process, one related to local scale factors on the one hand and
regional factors on the other.
Considering the mechanisms underlying the links between agriculture, landscape and plant
biodiversity, competition likely acts on the local scale, through the direct disturbance effect of
farmers’ herbaceous cover control practices, and spontaneously on abandoned plots. By
contrast, environmental filter and species pool change mechanisms likely act on the regional
scale due to urbanization. However, on our sample of cultural landscapes, the role of
urbanization in biotic homogenization remains limited to increasing the proportion of
cosmopolitan species, contrary to what was observed in urban areas or other agricultural
environments, where invasive species modify the species pool (Jauzein, 2001; McKinney,
2006; Williams et al., 2008). Moreover, a spatial homogenization is observed in 31% of plots
and edges due to home terroir, contagion and selection effects noticed by different authors
(Fried et al., 2008; Gounot, 1969; INA0-INRA, 2006; Jauzein, 2001). Subtle climate
differences between the terroirs further accentuate this spatial effect on regional scale.
However, the role of climate cannot be isolated from that of landscapes shaped by agricultural
practices which are over-represented on these terroirs (INAO-INRA, 2006).
Considering each type of crop, our results show that the studied vineyards are associated with
low species richness due to intensive ploughing and chemical inputs, as found by Fried et al.,
2008 and numerous other authors. The most significant species on vineyards are able to
withstand the high level of disturbance caused by agricultural practices thanks to their
biological traits as observed by Fried et al. (2008, 2012). The standards imposed by
cooperatives and professional bodies (“keep vineyards tidy”) contribute to shaping and
homogenizing the individual practices of wine growers, and to justifying their intensity and
repetition (Angles, 2014). On the terroirs where wine growers are more autonomous, practices
are less intense and more variable (chemical weeding is not systematic), the flora is more
diverse and less generalist. The presence of hedges, garrigue and forest around vineyards
allows floral richness and traits diversity to be increased on the plot and edges scale (Figure
6); this edge effect is higher in Pic-St-Loup terroir where edges are covered with unmanaged
forest. The low trait diversity is linked to an agricultural landscape located near urban centers,
with well-developed infrastructure and buildings around the plots, illustrating the role of the
environment filter (McKinney, 2006). Finally the influence of natural and semi-natural
elements in the landscape on richness and specialization gradient is less favorable than in the
model proposed by Le Roux et al. (2008) (Figure 6). Our sample of vineyards imperfectly
represents the agro-landscape gradient modeled by these authors.
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Figure 6: Biodiversity, landscape and crop type
Abandoned and burnt plots that we studied are dominated by specialist species due to their
removed position on the urbanization gradient, their insertion in a landscape dominated by
natural surface areas, and the cessation of agricultural activities, linked to steep slopes. Plots
which have been burned have a floral richness and a structural and spatial diversity much
lower than other abandoned plots due to selection and homogenization fire processes. These
results are in line with previous studies of plant biodiversity in abandoned groves (Bonet and
Pausas, 2004; Houssard et al., 1980; Potts et al., 2006, Tatoni, 1990), but they do not
correspond well to models which do not integrate the specific features of the Mediterranean
hinterlands (Figures 5 and 6).
With regard to olive groves, those we studied are rich in herbaceous and protected species
whose biological traits are diversified. The co-existence of two types of diversity, specific and
functional, is linked to the low intensity of agricultural practices, which are in turn linked to
cultural and socio-economic factors. However, we cannot exclude the role of co-evolution
between olive trees and herbaceous communities due to the age of the groves, which
influence as a direct or indirect factor should be further investigated (Spanou et al., 2013). It
is the same for plot size (Fahrig et al., 2015).
When olive groves are located in landscapes with a low rate of natural surfaces (25 to 50 %),
one third of plots are built up (on average) and the floral richness is higher (mean 53 species,
Figure 6). In this peri-urban situation, mean floral richness practically doubles, from 36 to 69
species, between olive groves managed intensively and those maintained carefully by
gardeners who are interested in the cultural and esthetic value of olive groves (Angles, 2014;
Loumou and Giourga, 2003). Here, the “esthetic experience” is not a conventional one of
scenic beauty, but rather one of “perceived care, attachment, and identity (Gobster et al.,
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2007), linked with gardeners’ cultural models. The high floral richness observed at this level
of the urbanization gradient thus is not only explained by the mix of the species pool
(Mayfield et al., 2010), but also by socio-cultural factors. By contrast, in landscapes
dominated by natural surfaces far removed from large urban areas, the mean species richness
of olive groves diminishes (50 species), but the functional diversity increases with the
presence of specialist species (Figure 6). These specialist species are preserved by the
mitigation of the environmental filter effect due to the distance to large cities (McKinney,
2006) and by the very careful, heritage management of plots rehabilitated through the efforts
of individuals or groups (ex: Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert).
These two particular features, the floral richness of peri-urban olive groves and the specialist
pattern of olive groves plant biodiversity in natural landscapes, explain the weak match
between our results and the agro-landscape model proposed by Le Roux et al. (2008), in
contrast to what was observed in Andalusia (Cohen et al., 2010). Our sample of olive groves
thus is a counterexample of the loss of functional redundancy linked to the intensification of
agriculture observed by Mayfield et al. (2010), because they generally are managed by low
intensity practices implemented with care. Our hypothesis of proximity between the
functioning of plots and the functioning of natural ecosystems with average disturbance is
thus validated in the case of the olive groves studied in France, and is consistent with the
results obtained by Pujadas-Salvá in past times in Spain (1986) and by Spanou et al. (2013)
recently in Greece. This proximity between olive groves and natural ecosystems is indirectly
linked to the perception of olive groves as a cultural landscape and to the symbolic and
esthetic role of the olive tree (Angles, 2014).
In conclusion, our holistic and multi-scale approach enables considerable progress in our
understanding of the complex relations between cultural landscape and plant biodiversity
(Antrop, 2003; Naveh, 1997), complementing the existing models (Firbank et al., 2008;
Hoogeven et al., 2001; Le Roux et al., 2008). Our main finding is that the multi-functionality
of olive groves and vineyards and the potential ecological service they render to territories are
realized in different ways along the urbanization gradient, when they apply the set of cultural
landscape attributes: "combined works of nature and man" with deep historical roots, cultural
resonance and careful management of plots and edges. Plant biodiversity is not incompatible
with the economic feasibility of farms. We observed medium to high plant diversity on plots
and/or on edges in farms where economic valuation relies not only on productivity, but also
on heritage and landscape values, promoting niche products.
Our results renders it possible to offer realistic recommendations for landscape and plots
management. These are based on local best practices and knowledge, and consider the
economic constraints of agricultural systems and landscape dynamics observed on a regional
scale (Angles, 2014; Friedberg, 2007; Roué, 2014). One recommendation is to disseminate
the knowledge regarding ecological management of plots and edges and rehabilitation held by
peri-urban gardeners and by farmers in rural areas. With the exception of the art of pruning,
which is passed down locally, this intangible heritage is little valued (Angles, 2014). This
would lead to a greater proportion of plots contributing to the presence and circulation of
biodiversity in the agricultural matrix along the entire urbanization gradient, including
auxiliary species (vine: Hoffmann and Greef, 2003; olive-tree: Coutinot, 2012; alternate plant
host for auxiliary species are frequent in our sample, Warlop, 2006). Another is to rehabilitate
abandoned olive groves, which will not lessen their ecological value and will restore their
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ISSN: 0167-8809 n°AGEE5069, DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2015.06.023
economic and cultural functions; this rehabilitation will furthermore contribute to preventing
fires, whose negative effects on plant biodiversity we have demonstrated. Lastly, the
ecological and landscape transition of wine-making territories should be promoted by
encouraging mechanical practices over chemical weeding and the sowing of non-
cosmopolitan and non-competitive herbaceous species. A more extensive management of plot
edges also should be encouraged so that these vegetal structures, which represent a landscape
heritage with high esthetic and cultural value, also can fulfill an ecological corridor function
within the agricultural space.
Appendix A: Indexes formula
Definition And Formula
Number of species in a plot or an edge
frequency Isf
ISf= [0 ; 3]
Absence (i=0), presence (i=1), contact between a species and one
(i=2) or two needle-points (i=3), computed for each quadrat.
traits IBt (%)
IBt 
n=number of species with a modality of biological trait, E=species,
Q=quadrat, Ifs= Species frequency index
Comparison between floristic composition in the plot and in the
edge ISs = 2a/(2a+b+c)=2a/(n1+n2)
a=number of species present in the plot and in the edge, b= number
of species present only in the plot, c= number of species present
only in the edge, n1=total number of species in the plot, n2= total
number of species in the edge.
Edge land
use diversity
 pi ln pi
pi= proportion of edge length belonging to a land use type.
diversity IStd
Description of the spatial pattern of species within the plot.
IStd = (log2C10Si - log2CASi-2 /E
Si=sum of species present in the quadrats, E=number of species in
the plot, A=number of quadrats where the species is present and
Cnp=number of combinations between n objects p to p.
Spatial diversity within a group of locations is the mean value ISpd
of Hamming distance Dh between all the locations compared by
Dh = (1- c)/(a+b-c)
c=number of species present in the two locations, a=total number of
species in the first location, b= total number of species in the second
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This study was carried out thanks to the financial support for field work given by ANR
(French National Agency for Research, Systerra Program) to the Patermed project (Paysages
et Terroirs Méditerranéens). We thank in particular its scientific head, Stéphane Angles,
Senior Lecturer at Université Paris-Diderot-UMR 7533 Ladyss, the geography and biology
masters students at Université Paris-Diderot who participated in data collection (Rémi Cabel-
Simon, Romain Courault, Cédric Diamantino, Benjamin Fouillen-Marcel, Laurence Jézequel,
Maria Laraki, Christopher Mongeville, Marie-Isabelle Mutin, Richard Philippe, Myriam
Volut, Stefano Zanini), the Pole Image for its technical support, Grace Delobel for translating
the manuscript into English, the UMR Ladyss for the financial support for translation, and the
farmers and wine and olive sector professionals, without whose help this research could not
have been realized. We are grateful to the reviewers for their suggestions and their help to
improve our manuscript.
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... The perceptions of olive growers of conservation and landscape indirectly affect the local biodiversity (Spanou et al. 2013;Marquez-Thomas 2015;Cohen et al. 2015;Assandri et al. 2018). Farmers' views of olive groves may be the bucolic image of an aesthetic, heritage, and semi-natural landscape, while for others, it is a crop landscape. ...
... They are arranged from east to west along the French Mediterranean arc: Hinterland-of-Nice, Bandol, Country of Aubagne, Saint-Guilhem-du-Désert, and Terrasses-du-Larzac. Olive groves occupy a small proportion of the surface of these territories (1 to 6%, 11% including intercrop). Forest, scrublands, and abandoned vine and olive orchards are dominant (50 to 99%, Cohen et al. 2015). In comparison, olive groves occupy 19% of the surface of Andalusia . ...
... New trees have been planted, native endangered frost-damaged varieties coppiced, bushes thinned and weeded, and dry stone terraces restored. At present, most olive groves (not organic) are not intensively managed (Cohen et al. 2015). ...
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At a time when many questions are being raised about the future of rural landscapes and their ecosystem services, a better understanding of the effect of historical land use on their biodiversity is critical. We aim to verify to what extent the biodiversity in Mediterranean orchards, specifically olive groves, depends on past land use, similarly to some wooded ecosystems, as opposed to current conditions only, which is the case for farmlands. Using the Napoleonic cadaster (1825–1867) and aerial photographs (1947–2011), we characterized land-use trajectories across two centuries in 67 georeferenced olive plots selected across five terroirs in the South of France, and examined their similarities with land-use change at the regional level. We tested their relationships with botanical data, management, surrounding land use, and environmental conditions. Plant community parameters and species composition depend mainly on the effects of past land use. The highest numbers of species living in semi-natural ecosystems are found in orchards initially covered with natural vegetation, tilled over a short duration and recently rehabilitated by farmers (mean 62 species). Other farmed orchards host a significant mean floral richness (51–56). The lowest mean levels are encountered in long-cultivated orchards, due to intensive management (28), and in abandoned (42) and burnt (23) orchards, due to plant competition. The perceptions of olive growers are an indirect factor in the conservation of this biodiversity. The study suggests that the restoration of olive groves should be encouraged, as they provide ecosystem services and represent a promising prospect for Europe as a whole. Graphical Abstract
... Consequently, plant species composition and diversity differ between these agroecosystems, with usually lower taxonomic and functional diversity in vineyards than in olive groves. In vineyards, there are usually more generalist species associated with ruderal characteristics and disturbed environments (Cohen et al., 2015). These disturbances can modify weed leaf traits and positively influence their digestibility. ...
... Moreover, previous studies demonstrated that tillage reduces biodiversity in perennial agroecosystems, especially of wild bees and arthropods Carpio et al., 2019), soil biodiversity (Sánchez-Moreno et al., 2015) or plant richness and abundance Carpio et al., 2020). In contrast, cover crops or spontaneous vegetation often increase the biodiversity in the fields Cohen et al., 2015) and, consequently the provision of ES (Kavvadias and Koubouris, 2019;Daane et al., 2018). Even if tillage significantly increased weed digestibility, forage quality in non-tilled fields is high according to both Hoveland et al. (1986) and Cruz et al. (2010): it is possible to achieve high forage quality and biodiversity-friendly farming practices simultaneously in highly disturbed ecosystems such as vineyards and olive groves. ...
Biodiversity presence in perennial agroecosystems increases the provision of ecosystem services (ES). Weeds are known to deliver supporting or regulating services but their potential to provide provisioning services is less studied. Our study aims to quantify the potential of weeds to provide forage resources for livestock in two Mediterranean perennial agroecosystems: olive groves and vineyards. We used a trait-based approach to investigate the abiotic determinants of weed quality and quantity variations at both the species and community levels. We surveyed spontaneous vegetation in 16 vineyards and 16 olive groves in the French Mediterranean region with contrasting pedoclimatic conditions and agricultural practices, during spring and fall 2021. Four leaf traits were measured: Leaf Dry Matter Content (LDMC), Specific Leaf Area (SLA), Leaf Nitrogen Content (LNC) and leaf C/N ratio (Leaf C/N) and four forage potential indicators: dry matter digestibility (DMD), crude proteins (CP), neutral detergent fiber content (NDF) and aboveground biomass (AB). We found that DMD of perennial agroecosystems weeds is high (689 ± 116 g kg−1), and can be compared to those of forage species. Using linear mixed models and path analysis, we found that, at the community scale, LDMC is negatively linked to weed forage quality and that disturbing agricultural practices like tillage, increase weed forage quality. However we did not find any effect of agricultural practices or pedoclimate on weeds leaf traits or on weeds quantity. Our results revealed the potential of weeds as highly digestible forage resources for livestock. The long-term aim is to promote the integration of livestock in perennial cropping systems in order to reduce the use of herbicides and/or tillage and to diversify agricultural production.
... However, the Ramat Magshimim vineyard is situated between cultivated areas. Cohen et al. (2015) showed that many natural landscapes around groves or vineyards favor agricultural plant biodiversity. If plant diversity in such a vineyard is high, then animal biodiversity should also be high. ...
Centipedes (Chilopoda) are mainly predators, which play essential roles in agroecosystems. In this work, pitfall traps were placed monthly during 1998 in two sites of vineyards in Northern Israel: the Geshur and Ramat Magshimim vineyards. The present research refers to the centipedes that were caught in these traps. Specimens of seven species of centipedes were caught in this work. Four centipede species were found in both vineyard sites: Thereuonema syriaca Verhoeff 1905, Scutigera coleoptrata (Linnaeus, 1758), Scutigeridae gen. species, and Hessebius barbipes (Porath, 1893). Two species were found in the Geshur, and not in the Ramat-Magshimim vineyard: Lithobiu s ( Monotarsobius ) sp., and Harpolithobius halophilus Verhoeff, 1941. One species was found in the Ramat-Magshimim, and not in the Geshur vineyard: Lithobius carinatus L. Koch, 1862. In the Geshur vineyard, 52 specimens of 6 centipede species were found. In the Ramat Magshimim vineyard, 20 specimens of 5 centipede species were detected. These differences are probably related to the Geshur vineyard being close to natural Mediterranean shrubland, while the Ramat Magshimim vineyard is situated between cultivated areas.
... The centuries-old olive groves are cultivated using traditional, low environmental impact techniques and create a semi-natural habitat that has remained unchanged for centuries. They are cultivated ecosystems typical of Mediterranean territories, characterized by a good level of naturalness, rich in biodiversity where cultivated and spontaneous species coexist, and some of these latter are of considerable conservation interest (Crocè 1999;Gangale and Uzunov 2003;Calabrese et al. 2012Calabrese et al. , 2015Perrino et al. 2011Cohen et al. 2015). Biondi et al. (2007), and later, Casavecchia et al. (2021) have proposed the inclusion in Annex I to HD of the new habitat type, named "Centuries-old olive groves with evergreen Quercus spp. ...
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The 92/43/EEC Habitats Directive is the main European Union legal tool concerning nature conservation. The habitat types listed in Annex I to the Directive are phytosociology-based. It is widely acknowledged that phytosociological analysis is a crucial approach for habitats characterization and for monitoring their conservation status. Based on bibliographic investigations and new field survey campaigns, a list of habitat types neglected by the Habitats Directive is here presented and described for southern Italy. In this paper, 8 new habitat types and 13 subtypes are proposed. For each of these proposed new habitat types, a wide range of information, including ecology, chorology, species composition, syntaxonomy, threats, and conservation status, is here provided. To supply more detailed phytogeographical and coenological information about the proposed new habitat types, distribution maps based on 10 × 10 km reference grids and phytosociological tables including unpublished relevés were carried out.
... Trials with Lolium in which seeds were buried by tillage showed that seeds buried at 10-20 cm have more persistence, deteriorate less and come out before dormancy (Cechin et al., 2021). This explains the dominance of this species and other similar ruderal species in tilled olive groves (Cohen et al., 2015). In untilled groves, Lolium seeds remain on the surface, where they become a food source for predatory ants (Baraibar et al., 2017). ...
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The effects of the farming system (conventional-organic-abandoned) and soil management (native cover crop vs tillage) on vascular plant species were analyzed in sloping olive groves (>20%) in 20 different locations in Andalusia, SE Spain. The soil management techniques included Organic Tillage (OT), Organic Cover Crops (OC), Conventional Tillage (CT), Conventional Non-Tillage (CNT), Abandoned Cover Crops (AC) and Abandoned Woody (AW). Data for the vascular plant species were recorded through three line transects of 30 m with a bar perpendicularly touching every 1 m of the measuring tape. Environmental variables were also recorded at plot level to assess their influence. Dependent variables, such as species abundance, richness and diversity indexes were studied using univariate analysis (one-way ANOVA, Kruskal–Wallis test) while multivariate statistics (ANOSIM, SIMPER, DCA) were used for analyzing the data matrices. We found that the different combinations of farming system and soil management affect biological diversity in terms of individual abundance, plant cover, species richness and diversity, species and family composition. Life forms and species distribution patterns are also affected. The main environmental variables affecting the plant taxa were those related with soil and climate characteristics, slope, olive age and intensive land uses at landscape level, including the percentage of artificial surfaces. The lowest levels of biodiversity (e.g., species richness) were found in the tilled olive groves (CT = 8.1 sp. ± 2.2, OT = 10.0 sp. ± 5.4). Surprisingly, the organic tilled groves (OT) were very poor in species compared to those with native plant cover (OC = 27.9 sp. ± 3.0). The latter, however, showed similar species richness to the abandoned olive groves (AC = 21.2 sp. ± 3.7, AW = 27.2 sp. ± 3.0). Possible solutions for increasingly uncompetitive sloping olive groves include conversion to organic with native plant cover or abandonment for rewilding.
... This effect is enhanced if the area covered by marginal habitats is larger [14]. Similar results have been reported from southern France, where the role of marginal habitats among vineyards and olive groves was studied [70]. The biodiversity of cultural landscape can be strongly affected by even small remaining patches of semi-natural vegetation, scattered among cultivated patches [71]. ...
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This study aimed to show the influence of cultural landscape structure on species richnessand the conservation value of vascular flora.The analyses are based on 3201 original floristic lists (relevés) and 83,875 floristic data collected since 1994 within Gopło Millennium Park (Nadgoplański Park Tysiąclecia) in a rural area in central Poland. Descriptions of landscape composition in grid cells (0.5 km × 0.5 km) include land use structure, mean deviation of uneven proportions of various land use types, and Shannon index of diversity (H’). Vascular plant diversity was described using total species richness and contributions of groups of native and alien species. Assessment of floristic conservation value was based on qualitative and quantitative floristic index (Wfj and Wfi), mean coefficient of conservatism (C), and floristic quality index (FQI). Floristic analyses were conducted in relation to the whole study area and within grid cells, basing on numbers of species and number of floristic data. The results suggest that species richness in grid cells depends more strongly on diversity and evenness of contributions of land use types, irrespective of which land use types were present. Species richness is strongly dependent on land use structure. Larger contributions of arable fields and built-up areas are linked with a decrease in species richness of nonsynanthropic native plants and species of floristic conservation value. Regularity in this respect is very well illustrated by indices excluding the influence of species richness on floristic value (quantitative floristic index Wfi and mean coefficient of conservatism C). According to the algorithm of FQI, the most valuable floras are characterized by a large number of species with a high contribution of conservative ones. In the study area, this condition was met by floras of surface waters and wetlands.
... Olives and vineyards are a fundamental part of the agricultural landscape and cultural heritage of Mediterranean croplands. In the traditional cropping systems, often based on some sort of agroforestry systems or, sometimes, agro-silvopastoral systems, are designed for a mix of provisioning services (food, wine, cork etc.), but they also provide unique habitats for agrobiodiversity and contribute to multiple ecosystem services (Cohen et al. 2015;Brambilla et al. 2017;Assandri et al. 2018). Almonds and other traditional fruit Mediterranean orchards, and agroforestry systems in many cases represent a traditional and cultural landscape (Moreno et al. 2018). ...
... Toutefois, le potentiel de fournitures de services via la flore spontanée varie selon les systèmes de cultures pérennes considérés. Par exemple, la richesse spécifique de la végétation est plus grande en oliveraies qu'en vignobles, où les pratiques sont souvent plus destructrices pour la végétation spontanée (Cohen et al., 2015) alors que les oliveraies sont plus régulièrement et longuement enherbées. Par ailleurs, d'autres services écosystémiques, qui ne concernent pas directement les cultures, sont favorisés par la présence de végétation spontanée au sein des agrosystèmes : le conservation d'une richesse taxonomique et fonctionnelle des communautés végétales (Jung et al., 2020) et la préservation d'habitats pour la faune (Kratschmer et al., 2019). ...
The species diversity of isopods was surveyed in two vineyards in Northern Israel in 1998. Pitfall traps were placed at each site monthly and year-round. This survey found six species of isopods, four of which were found in both vineyards: Armadillo sp. Aff. platypleon (Schmalfuss, 1986), Leptotrichus naupliensis (Verhoeff, 1901), Porcellionides pruinosus (Brandt, 1833) and Porcellionides sp. One isopod species: Armadillo sp., was found in one of the two vineyards, and another isopod species: Porcellio deganiensis Verhoeff, 1923 was detected in the other vineyard. L. naupliensis and Porcellionides sp. were both vineyards’ most common isopod species. Some ecological differences between the two vineyards reflected in isopod diversity are discussed.
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The weed monitoring in France (′Biovigilance Flore’) conducted between 2003 and 2005 was used in order to compare the oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) weed flora with a former weed survey realized in the middle of the 1970’s. Using the kind and the degree of specialization of the weed species, this study shows that multiple selective processes operate at various temporal scales, ranging from the crop (one year), to the rotation (about three years) and to decades. Compared to the 1970’s, there are more generalist weed species in oilseed rape crops nowadays. In the same time, the number of weed species highly adapted to oilseed rape has increased. About 30 % of the increasing species have been selected by one or several cultivation methods used in oilseed rape culture. But the homogenization of the weed flora could be due to (1) the extension of some rotations including summer crops (maize, sunflower) which could favour the species able to rebuild their soil seed bank every year and (2) the standardization of environmental cropping conditions which could threaten the species highly adapted to particular environments (temporarily waterlogged soils). On a national scale, the soil and the climate are the most effective factors acting on weed species composition. They make the oilseed rape weed flora of the West plains stand out from the flora of the North-East limestone plateau. The effect of interaction between crop rotation and environmental conditions is discussed.
The olive tree is a hardy plant but drupes can be heavily damaged by its main pest, the olive fly Bactrocera oleae (Gmelin). Parasitoids of this pest are well known but keep being poorly active in orchards because of the intensive use of chemicals and due to lack of lansdcape management. The aim is to select adapted flora able to attract and maintain parasitoids, and to stimulate a conservation biocontrol of the olive fly, as well as of the moth or of the black scale. The International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control (IOBC) considers agroecology as the most relevant strategy to focuse on for a sustainable and low-cost agriculture. This paper aims at describing our objectives and the methodology we used in this new experiment on biodiversity.
At a time when popular knowledge about managing the environment is appealed to more and more frequently, it appears important to understand how and by what organising principles it is enacted. For the animal and vegetal environment, it is essential to understand up to what degree of diversity and discretion one organism can be identified, and what type of classification can be applied. This is precisely what is examined here, with the help of examples taken from diverse societies, including France, and concerning the vegetal world. Our objective here is to show how representations of the latter are in relation to the plant features, to Man's own cognitive processes, and to the role plants are performing in those societies. The recognition and classification of the diversity of living beings correspond to two levels of knowledge organisation that can be apprehended from designation terms. A third level does exist, encompassing all living beings, including human, in the functioning of each society. It concerns not only individuals, but also the elements that they are made up of, that condition their birth and growth, in the course of their existence, and at the moment of their death. The example presented here concerns one non-modern society, yet the reasoning principle at stake is just as valid for the non-modern aspects of our own societies. The ideas that one society makes up about its own functioning and about the whole universe give meaning to the knowledge. It is necessary to take this into account when we take action in managing the environment.