Local and Landscape Constraints on Coffee Leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) Diversity
The intensification of agriculture drives many ecological and environmental consequences including impacts on crop pest populations and communities. These changes are manifested at multiple scales including small-scale management practices and changes to the composition of land-use types in the surrounding landscape. In this study, we sought to examine the influence of local and landscape-scale agricultural factors on a leafhopper herbivore community in Mexican coffee plantations. We sampled leafhopper (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) diversity in 38 sites from 9 coffee plantations of the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico. While local management factors such as coffee density, branches per coffee bush, tree species, and density were not important in explaining leafhopper abundance and richness, shade management at the landscape level and elevation significantly affected leafhoppers. Specifically, the percentage of low-shade coffee in the landscape (1,000-m radius surrounding sites) increased total leafhopper abundance. In addition, Shannon's diversity of leafhoppers was increased with coffee density. Our results show that abundance and diversity of leafhoppers are greater in simplified landscapes, thereby suggesting that these landscapes will have higher pest pressure and may be more at-risk for diseases vectored by these species in an economically important crop.