Study

Management to enhance pollen and nectar resources for bumblebees and butterflies within intensively farmed landscapes

  • Published source details Pywell R.F., Meek W.R., Hulmes L., Hulmes S., James K.L., Nowakowski M. & Carvell C. (2011) Management to enhance pollen and nectar resources for bumblebees and butterflies within intensively farmed landscapes. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15, 853-864.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

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

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2003–2005 in an arable farm in Yorkshire, UK (Pywell et al. 2011) found that margins sown with complex seed mixes did not have a higher abundance or species richness of butterflies than simple mixes, but the timing of cutting and removal of cuttings did affect butterfly numbers. The abundance and species richness of butterflies was similar in plots sown with simple (abundance: 6–11 individuals/150 m2; richness: 3–4 species/150 m2) or complex (abundance: 6–8 individuals/150 m2; richness: 3 species/150 m2) seed mixes. In the first year of management, butterfly abundance (1–2 individuals/150 m2) and species richness (1 species/150 m2) were lower in plots cut in June than in plots cut at other times of year (abundance: 17 individuals/150 m2; richness: 4–5 species/150 m2). However, in the second year, there was a higher abundance, but not species richness, of butterflies in plots cut in April and June (9 individuals/150 m2; 4 species/150 m2) or October (8 individuals/150 m2; 5 species/150 m2) than plots cut in April and October (3 individuals/150 m2; 2 species/150 m2). Plots where cuttings were removed in April and June had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than plots where cuttings were left, but plots where cuttings were removed in October had a lower abundance and species richness than plots where cuttings were left (data not presented). In April 2003, two margins (200 × 6 m) were established in each of two cereal fields. One margin/field was sown with six legumes, common knapweed Centaurea nigra, and six grasses at 20 kg/ha (£140/ha), and the other was sown with four legumes and three grasses at 20 kg/ha (£55/ha). Margins were cut three times in 2003 with cuttings removed. In April 2004, each margin was sub-divided into eight 25 × 6 m plots, which were randomly assigned to one of eight treatments: cut in October, cut in October and April, cut in October and June, or cut in April and June, each with cuttings left in place or removed. From May–September 2004–2005, butterflies were counted 7–8 times/year on a 25-m transect through the middle of each plot.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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