Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Responses of beetle fauna of oolitic limestone grassland to conservation management by different cutting regimes at Castor Hanglands National Nature Reserve, Cambridgeshire, England

Published source details

Morris M.G. & Rispin W.E. (1987) A beetle fauna of oolitic limestone grassland, and the responses of species to conservation management by different cutting regimes. Biological Conservation, 43, 87-105


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

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, randomized study in 1973-1974 of limestone grassland in Cambridgeshire, UK (Morris & Rispin 1987a) (also described in an additional publication (Morris & Rispin 1987b)) found that cutting tended to benefit plant-eating beetle (Coleoptera) species, whereas most beetles that feed on decaying matter, detritus-feeding beetles, fungus-eating beetles and some predatory beetles were more abundant in uncut plots. Beetle families that feed on decaying matter, and predatory beetle families were next most abundant in May-cut plots. Overall species diversity was highest on uncut plots and then July-cut plots. No beetle species showed a response to treatments in all five sampling periods. A significant reduction in abundance was recorded for 17 species, whilst 12 increased under one or more treatments. Treatments were an annual cut in May or July, or both, and an uncut control, with four replicates (each 16 x 12 m) of each in a randomized block design. The site had previously been unmanaged for several years. Beetles were sampled by vacuum netting 1 m² in each plot at 2-4 weekly intervals from October 1972 to December. Berlese-type funnels were also used on one turf sample (each 0.07 m²) per plot/week over four weeks in each of five sampling periods in 1973-1974.

Additional reference:

Morris M.G. & Rispin W.E. (1987b) Abundance and diversity of the coleopterous fauna of a calcareous grassland under different cutting regimes. Journal of Applied Ecology, 24, 451-465.