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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Biodiversity of plants and invertebrates enhanced within one year in sown or naturally regenerated uncropped field margins near Eddlethorpe and Birdsall, North Yorkshire, England

Published source details

Meek B., Loxton D., Sparks T., Pywell R., Pickett H. & Nowakowski M. (2002) The effect of arable field margin composition on invertebrate biodiversity. Biological Conservation, 106, 259-271


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

A small replicated, controlled trial of field margin management options on two farms in North Yorkshire, England in one summer (Meek et al. 2002) did not find significantly more bumblebees on margins sown with tussocky grass than on naturally-regenerated margins or cropped margins. There were four replicates of each treatment.

Leave arable field margins uncropped with natural regeneration Bee Conservation

A small replicated, controlled trial of field margin management options on two farms in North Yorkshire, England in one summer (Meek et al. 2002) did not find significantly more bumblebees Bombus spp. (species or individuals) on four naturally regenerated 6 m wide margins than on four cropped margins.

Sow uncropped arable field margins with a native wild flower seed mix Bee Conservation

A small-scale replicated, controlled trial of field margin management options on two farms in North Yorkshire, England in one summer (Meek et al. 2002) found a significantly greater abundance of bumblebees Bombus spp. on four 6 m wide margins sown with a grass and wildflower seed mix than on four naturally regenerated, grass-sown or control cropped margins.

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

A replicated, controlled study during the summer of 2000 in North Yorkshire, UK (Meek et al. 2002) found grass margins contained more plant species than cropped margins but fewer species than margins sown with a grass and wildflower mix. Bumblebee Bombus spp. abundance and butterfly (Lepidoptera) diversity did not differ between treatments. However there were more meadow brown butterflies Maniola jurtina in grass margins and grass and wildflower margins than in naturally regenerated or control cropped margins. Spring numbers of ground beetles (Carabidae) and ground-dwelling spiders (Araneae) were higher in all treatments compared with the crop. Harvestmen (Opiliones) preferred grass margins to the crop in autumn. Four margins of winter cereal fields, all adjacent to hedges, on two farms, were split into 72 m long plots and sown in September 1999 with a grass mix, grass and wildflower mix, cereal crop or left to regenerate naturally. Ground and canopy-dwelling invertebrates, butterflies and plants were surveyed from late April to late September 2000 using pitfall traps, sweep netting, transects and quadrats.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A small replicated, controlled trial in the summer of 2000 in North Yorkshire, UK (Meek et al. 2002) found that four naturally regenerated field margins had higher plant diversity, but not more bumblebees Bombus spp. or butterflies (Lepidoptera) (species or individuals) than four cropped margins. A number of rare or uncommon arable weeds were recorded in naturally regenerated margins, but also a much higher abundance of barren brome Anisantha sterilis than in any other treatment. Spring numbers of ground beetles (Carabidae) and ground-dwelling spiders (Araneae) were higher in naturally regenerated margins than cropped margins. Harvestmen (Opiliones) avoided naturally regenerated margins in favour of any sown habitat in autumn. Four margins of winter cereal fields, all adjacent to hedges, were split into 72 m long plots and sown in September 1999 with either grass, grass and wildflowers, cereal crop or left to regenerate naturally on two farms. Ground and canopy-dwelling invertebrates, butterflies and plants were surveyed from late April to late September 2000 using pitfall traps, sweep netting, transects and quadrats.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A small-scale replicated, controlled trial in summer 2000 in North Yorkshire, UK (Meek et al. 2002) found significantly more bumblebees Bombus spp. and butterflies (Lepidoptera) on four 6 m-wide margins sown with a grass and wildflower seed mix than on four naturally regenerated, grass-sown or control cropped margins. Spring numbers of ground beetles (Carabidae) and ground-dwelling spiders (Araneae) were higher in all treatments compared with cropped margins. Margins sown with a grass and wildflower mix harboured more pollen beetles Meligethes spp. than naturally regenerated margins. Plant diversity was higher in margins sown with a grass and wildflower mix. Four margins of winter cereal fields (all adjacent to hedges) on two farms were split into 72 m-long plots and sown in September 1999 with either a grass mix, a grass and wildflower mix, cereal crop or left to regenerate naturally. Ground and canopy-dwelling invertebrates, bumblebees, butterflies and plants were surveyed from late April to late September 2000 using pitfall traps, sweep netting, transects and quadrats.