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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Grassy field margin strips increase the diversity and abundance of plants and grasshoppers and crickets, and the abundance of bees on arable farms in England

Published source details

Marshall E.J.P., West T.M. & Kleijn D. (2006) Impacts of an agri-environment field margin prescription on the flora and fauna of arable farmland in different landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 113, 36-44

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

Provide grass strips at field margins for bees Bee Conservation

The same study, reported elsewhere (Marshall et al. 2006), showed a significantly greater abundance of bees in boundaries of fields with sown grassy margins; 40% of the bees recorded were of one species, the red-tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarius.

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields for birds Bird Conservation

A replicated, paired sites comparison in mid-summer 2003 on 42 arable fields in southern England (Marshall et al. 2006) found that there were no more farmland bird species and birds were no more abundant on fields with 6 m wide grassy margins, compared to control fields without margins (11-18 species/site for 21 fields with margins vs. 11-15 species/site for 21 without).


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

A replicated, paired-sites comparison in mid-summer 2003 in southern England, UK (Marshall et al. 2006) found that plants, bees (Apidae) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera) were all more abundant or had higher diversity on fields with 6 m-wide sown grassy margins, compared to control fields without margins. For example, an average of 5.2 grasshopper and cricket individuals and 1.8 species were found in fields with grass margins, compared to 0.9 individuals and 0.6 species in control fields without grass margins. However spiders (Araneae), ground beetles (Carabidae) and farmland birds did not respond positively to grass margins, with 11-18 bird species/site for fields with grass margins, compared to 11-15 species/site for fields without margins. Forty-two arable field sites in 21 pairs of fields with and without grass margins were studied. Vegetation was assessed in 1 x 5 m quadrats and plant cover assessed visually. Numbers of nesting birds were assessed using territory mapping. Bees were surveyed from June to mid-July using butterfly and sweep nets along a transect for 15 minutes. Spiders were sampled in pitfall traps in the crop and margin. Grasshopper numbers and activity were measured through sweep netting and visual/audial assessment.