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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: An assessment of new agri-environment scheme options for conservation of arable plants on cereal field margins in England

Published source details

Walker K.J., Critchley C.N.R., Sherwood A.J., Large R., Nuttall P., Hulmes S., Rose R. & Mountford J.O. (2007) The conservation of arable plants on cereal field margins: an assessment of new agri-environment scheme options in England, UK. Biological Conservation, 136, 260-270


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Leave cultivated, uncropped margins or plots (includes 'lapwing plots') Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, randomized site comparison study in 2005 of Countryside Stewardship Scheme field margin options across England (Walker et al. 2007b) (same study as (Walker et al. 2007a)) found more arable plant species on uncropped cultivated margins (7.5 species on average) than on ‘spring fallow’ plots (4.3 species), conservation headlands (2.4-4.1 species) or cereal crop control (1.4 species). Thirty-four rare arable plant species were recorded, only 12 of which were found in over 2% of sites. Uncropped margins had significantly more rare species (1.4 species/margin on average) than the other three options (0.2-0.8 species/margin). A total of 39 randomly selected 20 x 20 km squares throughout England were visited to sample: uncropped cultivated margins, spring fallow (cultivation of stubble in whole/part field) and conservation headlands with and without fertilizer. A conventionally managed cereal crop (control) was also sampled at each of the farms visited. A total of 195 field margin agreements were surveyed during June and July 2005. All plant species and 86 rare arable plants were investigated.

 

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands) Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, randomized site comparison study in 2005 of Countryside Stewardship scheme field margin options across England (Walker et al. 2007b), (same study as (Walker et al. 2007a)) found that arable plant species diversity was higher in no-fertilizer conservation headlands (4.1 species) and spring fallow (4.3) than in fertilized conservation headlands (2.4 species, reduced pesticide use) and cereal crop controls (1.4). A total of 39 randomly selected 20 x 20 km squares throughout England were visited to sample four Countryside Stewardship scheme options: uncropped margins, spring fallow and conservation headlands with and without fertilizer. A conventionally managed cereal crop (control) was also sampled at each of the farms visited. A total of 195 field margin agreements were surveyed during June and July 2005. All plant species and 86 rare arable plants were investigated.