Designing agricultural landscapes for arthropod-based ecosystem services in North America

Nathan L. Haan, Benjamin G. Iuliano, Claudio Gratton, Douglas A. Landis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Agricultural landscapes in North America have developed through complex interactions of biophysical, socioeconomic and technological forces. While they can be highly productive, these landscapes are increasingly simplified, causing biodiversity loss. As a result, ecosystem services associated with biodiversity are being dismantled. Agricultural landscape structure arises from collective decisions of farmers over long time periods, which are usually not intentionally coordinated beyond the farm scale. Regaining ecosystem services will require active efforts to intentionally redesign landscapes, in part based on ecological evidence about relationships between landscape structure and ecosystem services. Here we focus on services provided by arthropods and how to foster them at landscape scales. We first provide a brief history of how agricultural landscape structure in temperate North America developed and review the landscape-scale ecological drivers underpinning arthropod-based ecosystem services. We then propose ecological and social principles for designing agricultural landscapes, based on the ecological evidence we reviewed and on previous efforts in agricultural landscape design. Finally, we look ahead to discern prospects for putting agricultural landscape design into practice, including ecological, technological and policy opportunities. To reap benefits from arthropod-based services, future agricultural landscapes will need to increase in structural heterogeneity and diversity across multiple dimensions including crop, farmer and consumer diversity. A number of knowledge gaps persist, including how to design landscapes at spatial scales that are relevant to service providers, identifying areas of overlap or conflict between design for ecosystem services and for biodiversity conservation more broadly and navigating the social and political processes needed to implement landscape design.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of Agricultural Landscapes, Part II
EditorsDavid A. Bohan, Adam J. Vanbergen
Number of pages60
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Ecological Research
ISSN (Print)0065-2504

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Agricultural policy
  • Ecosystem services
  • Landscape design
  • Pest suppression
  • Pollination
  • Principles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing agricultural landscapes for arthropod-based ecosystem services in North America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this