Increase crop diversity across a farm or farmed landscape

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages


  • Two studies evaluated the effects on butterflies and moths of increasing crop diversity across a farm or farmed landscape. Both studies were in Switzerland.


  • Richness/diversity (2 studies): Two replicated, site comparison studies in Switzerland found that farms and landscapes with a greater number of habitats or crop types had a similar species richness of butterflies to farms and landscapes with fewer different habitats or crop types.


  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in Switzerland found that farms with a greater number of habitats had a similar abundance of butterflies to farms with fewer different habitats.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, site comparison study in 2009–2011 in 133 mixed farms in the Central Plateau, Switzerland (Stoeckli et al. 2017) found that farms with a greater number of habitat types (including crop types) had a similar abundance and species richness of butterflies to farms with fewer habitat types. Both the abundance and species richness of butterflies on farms with more different habitats (>3/farm) were similar to farms with fewer habitats (<3/farm) (data presented as model results). A total of 133 farms (17–34 ha, 13–91% arable crops) were managed with “Ecological Compensation Areas” under agri-environment schemes. Management included extensive and low-input meadows with reduced fertilizer and later cutting dates, and the presence of trees, hedgerows and wildflower patches, as well as arable crops and pasture. From May–September 2009–2011, butterflies were surveyed six times on 10–38 transects/farm, totalling 2,500 m/farm. Each transect ran diagonally through a single crop or habitat type, with all available crops and habitats represented. All visits to a farm were completed in a single year, and the species richness was summed across all visits. Total abundance of butterflies was calculated from the number recorded in each habitat, and the availability of each habitat across the farm. Habitats on each farm were mapped between May and August.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, site comparison study in 2010–2014 in 91 agricultural areas in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Zingg et al. 2018) found that landscapes with a higher diversity of crops had a similar species richness of butterflies to landscapes with lower crop diversity. The species richness of butterflies was similar in agricultural areas with 7–12 different crops (11–33 species) and 1–6 crops (12–33 species). Ninety-one mixed farming areas (1 km2) were selected where 1–12 crop types were grown. Butterflies were surveyed seven times along a 2.5-km transect through each 1-km2 area in one of five years (2010–2014).

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Bladon A.J., Bladon, E. K., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2023) Butterfly and Moth Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for butterflies and moths. Conservation Evidence Series Synopsis. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Butterfly and Moth Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2023

Butterfly and Moth Synopsis

What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust