Faculté des sciences

The impact of mowing as a management strategy for wet meadows on spider (Araneae) communities

Cattin, Marie-France ; Blandenier, Gilles ; Banašek-Richter, Carolin ; Bersier, Louis-Félix

In: Biological Conservation, 2003, vol. 113, no. 2, p. 179-188

Meadows are often managed by mowing to prevent succession and brushwood encroachment. This management practice is efficient to maintain plant diversity, but the effect on arthropod groups is less well known. We sampled spiders in the Grande Cariçaie (Switzerland), a site of nature conservation importance, in two types of wet meadows, an unmanaged site and one 2-years-old mown conditions. Numbers... Plus

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    Summary
    Meadows are often managed by mowing to prevent succession and brushwood encroachment. This management practice is efficient to maintain plant diversity, but the effect on arthropod groups is less well known. We sampled spiders in the Grande Cariçaie (Switzerland), a site of nature conservation importance, in two types of wet meadows, an unmanaged site and one 2-years-old mown conditions. Numbers of individuals for the most abundant families, diversity measures, and indicator taxa were compared among vegetation and treatment types. The results indicate that the less mobile spiders and species linked to litter or dead reeds, including rare species, are reduced by mowing. Present management consists in triennial mowing of 2–4 ha non-contiguous sectors. We investigate the conflict between the need to mow the meadows to maintain them, and the negative effect of mowing on spider communities. We therefore propose a new management scheme aimed at maintain the vegetation while lessening its negative effects on spider communities by providing refuges.