Establish long-term cover on erodible cropland
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Establishing long-term cover on cropland that is highly susceptible to erosion may be carried out for a number of reasons including conserving soil fertility, limiting carbon emissions and enhancing habitat for biodiversity. The provision of long-term cover has potential to benefit mammals that are able to exploit increased shelter and food resources.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, site comparison study in 1989–1990 on six areas of mostly arable farmland in Nebraska, USA (King & Savidge 1995) found that establishing long-term cover on erodible cropland was not associated with increased abundance of eastern cottontails Sylvilagus floridanus. The number of cottontails counted in areas with 18–21% long-term cover (2.1–6.7 cottontails/block) did not differ significantly from that in areas with 2–3% long-term cover (4.1–8.8 cottontails/block). Within six 23-km2 farmland blocks, the proportion of land managed under an agri-environment scheme aimed at diversifying long-term cover types and reducing crop production was determined. In three blocks, 18–21% of cropland was in the scheme and in the other three, 2–3% was in the scheme. Long-term cover, established under 10-year contracts, included establishment of grasses and legumes. Live cottontails were counted from a vehicle while driving at 30–40 km/h, in May and June of 1989 and 1990.Study and other actions tested