Study

Factors influencing the plant and invertebrate diversity of arable field margins

  • Published source details Asteraki E.J., Hart B.J., Ings T.C. & Manley W.J. (2004) Factors influencing the plant and invertebrate diversity of arable field margins. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 102, 219-231.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

    A replicated trial from 1998 to 2000 in Wiltshire, UK (Asteraki et al. 2004) found that sown grassy field margins suppressed undesirable weed species, but did not enhance the abundance of invertebrates, relative to naturally regenerated uncultivated margins. Sown plots had significantly lower cover of undesirable weeds (nettle Urtica dioica, creeping thistle Cirsium arvense and black grass Alopecurus myosuroides) than naturally regenerated plots. There was no difference in the total abundance of invertebrates between field margin treatments. In 2000, there were more predatory beetles (Coleoptera) in naturally regenerated plots than in sown plots. Thirty-eight 100 x 2 m field margin plots were sown with a grass seed mix consisting of either three grass species (12 plots), six grass species (13 plots) or six grass and four wildflower species (13 plots) in autumn 1998. Eleven plots were left to regenerate naturally. The plots surrounded four fields under a Countryside Stewardship Agreement on the Harnhill Manor Farm, Wiltshire, UK. Invertebrates were sampled using pitfall traps (five traps/plot) in spring and autumn and suction traps in summer. Plants were recorded in four 1 m2 quadrats/plot in summer.

  2. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

    A replicated trial from 1998 to 2000 in Wiltshire, UK (Asteraki et al. 2004) found that naturally regenerated field margins had more undesirable weed species than sown field margin plots, but more predatory beetles (Coleoptera) in the second year. There was no difference in the total abundance of invertebrates between field margin treatments. Eleven 100 x 2 m field margin plots were left to regenerate naturally on one farm. Thirty-eight were sown with a grass seed mix of either three grass species (12 plots), six grass species (13 plots) or six grass and four herb species (13 plots) in autumn 1998. The plots were around four fields under a Countryside Stewardship Agreement on the Harnhill Manor Farm. Invertebrates were sampled using pitfall traps (five traps/plot) in spring and autumn and suction traps in summer. Plants were recorded in four 1 m2 quadrats/plot in summer.

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