Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effect of field margin management on soil macrofauna, ADAS Boxworth, Cambridgeshire, England

Published source details

Smith J., Potts S.G., Woodcock B.A. & Eggleton P. (2008) Can arable field margins be managed to enhance their biodiversity, conservation and functional value for soil macrofauna? Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 269-278


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

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2005 in Cambridgeshire, UK (Smith et al. 2008b) found that the species density and abundance of woodlice (Isopoda) and beetles (Coleoptera), as well as the species density of earthworms (Lumbricidae) was higher in sown grass margins than in the winter wheat crop. Species densities and abundances/m2 (grass margin average vs. crop average) were woodlouse density 2.8 vs 0 and woodlouse abundance 74 vs 0; beetles 17.3 vs 10.0 and 80 vs 41; earthworms 5.1 vs 3.8 and 281 vs 244; millipedes (Diplodopa) 3.2 vs 3.5 and 36 vs 38; centipedes (Chilopoda) 2.1 vs 1.8 and 14 vs 18. Scarified plots had lower abundance and fewer species of woodlice compared with spring cut and herbicide treated plots while species composition was similar to that of the crop. Scarified plots also had fewer soil-feeders and litter-feeders, and predatory species densities were lower, compared with the other plots. Field margins were created in 2001 with four replicated blocks of nine treatments (three seed mixtures x three management regimes) in one arable field. Soil macrofauna was sampled through soil cores in April and October 2005.