Study

Habitat preference and mobility of Polia bombycina: Are non-tailored agri-environment schemes any good for a rare and localised species?

  • Published source details Merckx T., Feber R.E., Parsons M.S., Bourn N.A.D., Townsend M.C., Riordan P. & Macdonald D.W. (2010) Habitat preference and mobility of Polia bombycina: Are non-tailored agri-environment schemes any good for a rare and localised species?. Journal of Insect Conservation, 14, 499-510.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (e.g. no spray, gap-filling and laying)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

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. Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (e.g. no spray, gap-filling and laying)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2006–2008 on four arable farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Merckx et al. 2010, same experimental set-up as Merckx et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2012) found that field margins next to hedgerow trees had more pale shining brown moths Polia bombycina than margins without hedgerow trees. The number of individuals caught in margins next to hedgerow trees (1.0–1.3 individuals/trap) was higher than the number in margins without trees (0.3–0.4 individuals/trap). Four farms were assigned to one of four treatments, based on their most common boundary features: 6-m-wide perennial grass or 1–2-m-wide standard field margins, and with or without hedgerow trees (>15 m high, mostly pedunculated oak Quercus robur). From May–October 2006–2008, moths were sampled overnight, once/fortnight, using three 6 W Heath pattern actinic light traps/farm. In June–July 2007 and 2008, at one farm, an additional 8–10 traps were set for 32–33 nights/year, in margins with the same treatments across 4–5 fields (16–20 locations). All traps were 1 m from hedgerows (2–3 m high, 1.5–2.5 m wide), 5 m from trees (if applicable), >50 m from hedgerow intersections, and >100 m apart.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2006–2008 on four arable farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Merckx et al. 2010, same experimental set-up as Merckx et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2012) found that 6-m-wide grass margins did not have more pale shining brown moths Polia bombycina than 1–2-wide margins. The number of individuals caught in wide field margins (0.4–1.3 individuals/trap) was not significantly different to the number caught in standard width margins (0.3–1.0 individuals/trap). Four farms were assigned to one of four treatments, based on their most common boundary features: 6-m-wide perennial grass or 1–2-m-wide standard field margins, and with or without hedgerow trees (>15 m high, mostly pedunculated oak Quercus robur). From May–October 2006–2008, moths were sampled overnight, once/fortnight, using three 6 W Heath pattern actinic light traps/farm. In June–July 2007 and 2008, at one farm, an additional 8–10 traps were set for 32–33 nights/year, in margins with the same treatments across 4–5 fields (16–20 locations). All traps were 1 m from hedgerows (2–3 m high, 1.5–2.5 m wide), 5 m from trees (if applicable), >50 m from hedgerow intersections, and >100 m apart.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2006–2008 on four arable farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Merckx et al. 2010, same experimental set-up as Merckx et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2012) found that field margins next to hedgerow trees, which farmers were paid to maintain under agri-environment schemes, had more pale shining brown moths Polia bombycina than margins without hedgerow trees, but wider margins did not have more moths than standard margins. The number of individuals caught in margins next to hedgerow trees (1.0–1.3 individuals/trap) was higher than the number in margins without trees (0.3–0.4 individuals/trap). However, the number of individuals caught in wide field margins (0.4–1.3 individuals/trap) was not significantly different to the number caught in standard width margins (0.3–1.0 individuals/trap). Four farms were assigned to one of four treatments, based on their most common agri-environment schemes habitat: 6-m-wide perennial grass or 1–2-m-wide standard field margins, and with or without hedgerow trees (>15 m high, mostly pedunculated oak Quercus robur). From May–October 2006–2008, moths were sampled overnight, once/fortnight, using three 6 W Heath pattern actinic light traps/farm. In June–July 2007 and 2008, at one farm, an additional 8–10 traps were set for 32–33 nights/year, in margins with the same treatments across 4–5 fields (16–20 locations). All traps were 1 m from hedgerows (2–3 m high, 1.5–2.5 m wide), 5 m from trees (if applicable), >50 m from hedgerow intersections, and >100 m apart.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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