Introducing red clover Trifolium pratense to former arable fields to provide a foraging resource for bumblebees Bombus spp. at Dungeness RSPB reserve, Kent, England

  • Published source details Allcorn R.I., Akers P. & Lyons G. (2006) Introducing red clover Trifolium pratense to former arable fields to provide a foraging resource for bumblebees Bombus spp. at Dungeness RSPB reserve, Kent, England. Conservation Evidence, 3, 88-91.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated study from 2000 to 2006 in England (Allcorn et al. 2006) found red clover Trifolium pratense and other legumes tended to establish well after hay, rich in red clover, was spread over former arable fields, however seeds of these species may already have been present in the seedbank. Leguminous species tended to increase in abundance in three fields between 2003 and 2006 (red clover present in 18-55% quadrats in 2003, 44-90% of quadrats in 2006). However, in the two other fields, both red and white clover T. repens decreased (red clover present in 25-34% quadrats in 2003 to 2-11% in 2006, white clover 25-97% in 2003 to 22-48% in 2006). Of the undesirable weeds, creeping thistle Cirsium arvense (87-98% in 2003 to 37-94% in 2006) and spear thistle C. vulgare (10-54% in 2003 to 0-38% in 2006) tended to decrease in abundance between 2003 and 2006. Common ragwort Senecio jacobaea increased in three fields (0-15% in 2003 to 6-36% in 2006) and declined in one (19% in 2003 to 0% in 2006). Hay and cuttings were obtained from nearby farms and the study site and were spread over fields once between April and August 2000-2003. Fields were summer grazed by livestock. The presence of species was recorded in 100 random nested quadrats (1 x 1 m and 2 x 2 m) in each field until 2006.

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