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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reduced tillage did not increase ground beetle abundance or species richness over one year in Belgium

Published source details

Baguette M. & Hance T. (1997) Carabid beetles and agricultural practices: Influence of soil ploughing. Biological Agriculture & Horticulture, 15, 185-190


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Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study of arable cultivation over one year in Belgium (Baguette & Hance 1997) found that reduced tillage did not increase ground beetle (Carabidae) abundance or species richness. Ground beetle abundance was higher in conventionally ploughed plots (30 cm: 4,073-6,166 individuals) than those with reduced tillage (15 cm: 3,361-4,496) or no ploughing (2,604-3,577), largely due to one dominant species Pterostichus melanarius in ploughed fields. Abundance varied with crop type. Species richness also varied with crop type (beet: 13-14 species, wheat: 14-15, barley: 14-16, maize: 15-16) but not treatment (ploughed: 13-15, reduced tillage: 13-16, none: 14-16). However, less abundant species in conventionally ploughed plots tended to increase with reduced or no tillage. No-tillage plots received 30 kg/ha nitrogen and herbicide. Ground beetles were sampled using six pitfall traps in two plots (40 x 20 m) per treatment and crop. Traps were collected weekly from April until harvest in 1982.