Tsafack, N., Fattorini, S., Benavides Frias, C., Xie, Y., Wang, X. & Rebaudo, F. (2020) Competing vegetation structure indices for estimating spatial constrains in carabid abundance patterns in Chinese grasslands reveal complex scale and habitat patterns.Insects, 11(4), 249. DOI:10.3390/insects11040249 (IF2020 2,769; Q1 Entomology)
Carabid communities are influenced by landscape features. Chinese steppes are subject to increasing desertification processes that are changing land-cover characteristics with negative impacts on insect communities. Despite those warnings, how land-cover characteristics influence carabid communities in steppe ecosystems remains unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate how landscape characteristics drive carabid abundance in different steppes (desert, typical, and meadow steppes) at different spatial scales. Carabid abundances were estimated using pitfall traps. Various landscape indices were derived from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) images. Indices expressing moisture and productivity were, in general, those with the highest correlations. Different indices capture landscape aspects that influence carabid abundance at different scales, in which the patchiness of desert vegetation plays a major role. Carabid abundance correlations with landscape characteristics rely on the type of grassland, on the vegetation index, and on the scale considered. Proper scales and indices are steppe type-specific, highlighting the need of considering various scales and indices to explain species abundances from remotely sensed data.