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

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide grass strips at field margins for bees

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Leave arable field margins uncropped with natural regeneration

Action Link
Bee Conservation

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

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Provide grass strips at field margins for bees

    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.

  2. Leave arable field margins uncropped with natural regeneration

    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.

  3. Sow uncropped arable field margins with a native wild flower seed mix

    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.

  4. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    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.

  5. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

    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.

  6. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    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.

Output references

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