Study

Hedgerow trees and extended-width field margins enhance macro-moth diversity: Implications for management

  • Published source details Merckx T., Marini L., Feber R.E. & Macdonald D.W. (2012) Hedgerow trees and extended-width field margins enhance macro-moth diversity: Implications for management. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49, 1396-1404.

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 2006–2009 on 16 arable farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Merckx et al. 2012, same experimental set-up as Merckx et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2010) found that field margins next to hedgerow trees had a higher species richness, but not abundance, of macro-moths than margins away from hedgerow trees. The species richness of macro-moths in margins next to hedgerow trees (105 species) was higher than in margins next to hedgerows without trees (92 species), but abundance was similar (data not presented). Sixteen farms were categorized to one of four treatments, based on their most common agri-environment scheme habitat: extended 6-m-wide or standard 1-m-wide field margins, and with or without hedgerow trees (>15 m high, mostly pedunculated oak Quercus robur). All margins were well-established perennial grass strips, cut once every 2–3 years, ungrazed and unfertilized. From May–October 2006–2009, moths were sampled 40 times (once/fortnight), using three 6 W Heath pattern actinic light traps/farm. 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, >100 m apart, and operated from dawn to dusk. Three farms (nine traps) were sampled/night.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2006–2009 on 16 arable farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Merckx et al. 2012, same experimental set-up as Merckx et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2010) found that extended-width grass field margins, which farmers were paid to maintain under agri-environment schemes, had a higher species richness, but not abundance, of macro-moths than standard-width margins. The species richness of macro-moths in extended-width margins (105 species) was higher than in standard-width margins (92 species), but the abundance was similar (data not presented). Sixteen farms were categorized to one of four treatments, based on their most common agri-environment scheme habitat: extended 6-m-wide or standard 1-m-wide field margins, and with or without hedgerow trees (>15 m high, mostly pedunculated oak Quercus robur). All margins were well-established perennial grass strips, cut once every 2–3 years, ungrazed and unfertilized. From May–October 2006–2009, moths were sampled 40 times (once/fortnight), using three 6 W Heath pattern actinic light traps/farm. 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, >100 m apart, and operated from dawn to dusk. Three farms (nine traps) were sampled/night.

    (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 2006–2009 on 16 arable farms in Oxfordshire, UK (Merckx et al. 2012, same experimental set-up as Merckx et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2010) found that extended-width field margins and margins next to hedgerow trees, which farmers were paid to maintain under agri-environment schemes, had a higher species richness, but not abundance, of macro-moths than standard-width margins and margins away from hedgerow trees, respectively. The species richness of macro-moths in extended-width margins (105 species) was higher than in standard-width margins (92 species), but the abundance was similar (data not presented). Species richness in margins next to hedgerow trees (105 species) was also higher than in margins next to hedgerows without trees (92 species), but abundance was similar (data not presented). Sixteen farms were categorized to one of four treatments, based on their most common agri-environment scheme habitat: extended 6-m-wide or standard 1-m-wide field margins, and with or without hedgerow trees (>15 m high, mostly pedunculated oak Quercus robur). All margins were well-established perennial grass strips, cut once every 2–3 years, ungrazed and unfertilized. From May–October 2006–2009, moths were sampled 40 times (once/fortnight), using three 6 W Heath pattern actinic light traps/farm. 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, >100 m apart, and operated from dawn to dusk. Three farms (nine traps) were sampled/night.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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