Study

Effects of wildflower strip quality, quantity, and connectivity on butterfly diversity in a Swiss arable landscape

  • Published source details Aviron S., Herzog F., Klaus I., Schuepbach B. & Jeanneret P. (2011) Effects of wildflower strip quality, quantity, and connectivity on butterfly diversity in a Swiss arable landscape. Restoration Ecology, 19, 500-508.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes or conservation incentives)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2000–2004 in an arable landscape in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Aviron et al. 2011) found that wildflower strips contained a higher abundance and species richness of generalist but not specialist butterflies than other arable habitats. For generalist butterflies, both the average abundance (24.0 individuals) and species richness (7.0 species) were higher in wildflower strips than in conventional grassland (abundance: 12.0, richness: 5.0) or wheat, maize and root crop fields (abundance: 2.6–3.7, richness: 1.8–2.2). However, for specialist butterflies there was no significant difference in abundance or richness (wildflower: abundance = 2.4, richness = 1.0; grassland: abundance = 0.6, richness = 0.5; crops: abundance = 0.4, richness = 0.2). Species richness of generalists was also higher in fields with more wildflower strips in the surrounding area (data presented as model results). From 1994–2004, within an 822-ha arable landscape, wildflower strips were sown with buckwheat as ground cover, and 30–40 wild plant species. They received no fertilizer or pesticide, and were not cut between 15 March and 1 October. In 2000, 2002 and 2004, butterflies were surveyed in five habitats: wildflower strips, conventional grassland, wheat fields, root crops and maize fields. Each year, 37–39 fields were sampled with 5 × 10-minute surveys every 2–3 weeks between May and August. The surrounding land cover (200-m radius) was mapped from aerial photographs. Generalist and specialist species were determined based on the number of caterpillar food plants.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes or conservation incentives)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2000–2004 in an arable landscape in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Aviron et al. 2011) found that wildflower strips which farmers were paid to create contained a higher abundance and species richness of generalist but not specialist butterflies than other arable habitats. For generalist butterflies, both the average abundance (24.0 individuals) and species richness (7.0 species) were higher in wildflower strips than in conventional grassland (abundance: 12.0; richness: 5.0) or wheat, maize and root crop fields (abundance: 2.6–3.7, richness: 1.8–2.2). However, for specialist butterflies there was no significant difference in abundance or richness (wildflower: abundance = 2.4; richness = 1.0; grassland: abundance = 0.6, richness = 0.5; crops: abundance = 0.4; richness = 0.2). Species richness of generalists was also higher in fields with more wildflower strips in the surrounding area (data presented as model results). From 1994–2004, within an 822-ha arable landscape, wildflower strips were sown with buckwheat as ground cover, and 30–40 wild plant species. They received no fertilizer or pesticide, and were not cut between 15 March and 1 October. In 2000, 2002 and 2004, butterflies were surveyed in five habitats: wildflower strips, conventional grassland, wheat fields, root crops and maize fields. Each year, 37–39 fields (6–11 fields/habitat) were sampled with 5 × 10-minute surveys every 2–3 weeks between May and August. The surrounding land cover (200-m radius) was mapped from aerial photographs. Generalist and specialist species were determined based on the number of caterpillar food plants.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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