Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of arable field margin management on the abundance and species richness of Araneae (spiders)

Published source details

Baines M., Hambler C., Johnson P.J., Macdonald D.W. & Smith H. (1998) The effects of arable field margin management on the abundance and species richness of Araneae (spiders). Ecography, 21, 74-86


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated before-and-after trial from 1987-1991 in Oxfordshire, UK (Baines et al. 1998) (same study as Feber et al. 1994) found that spider (Araneae) abundance and species richness were higher after field margins were established on unmanaged plots (from <5 species at the start of the study to between 5 and 12 species following field margin establishment). Naturally regenerated field margins had fewer spiders, but not fewer spider species, than field margins sown with a wildflower seed mix on all dates. Cutting, especially summer cutting, significantly reduced the abundance of spiders. Spraying with herbicide reduced the numbers of spiders, but not the number of spider species, relative to control plots in two of the three years. Spiders were sampled using a suction trap (D-vac) in September 1987 and 1988, and in May, July and September in 1989, 1990 and 1991. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as Feber et al.1994, Feber et al. 1996, Bell et al. 1999, Haughton et al. 1999, Smith et al. 2010).

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated trial from 1987 to 1991 in Oxfordshire, UK (Baines et al. 1998) found that field margins sown with a wildflower seed mix had more spiders (Araneae), but not more spider species, than naturally regenerated margins on all dates. Cutting, especially summer cutting, significantly reduced the abundance of spiders. Two-metre-wide field margins were established around arable fields in October 1987. They were either left to naturally regenerate or sown with a wildflower seed mix (17 wildflower species, six grass species, with a wildflower:grass weight ratio of 1:4) in March 1988. Both treatments were rotavated before sowing. Fifty-metre-long plots were managed in one of the following ways: uncut, cut once in June with hay collected, cut April and June with hay collected, cut in April and September with hay collected. There were six replicates of each treatment. Spiders were sampled using a suction trap (D-Vac) in September 1987 and 1988, and in May, July and September in 1989, 1990 and 1991. This study was part of the same study set-up as Feber et al. 1994, Feber et al. 1996, Bell et al. 1999, Haughton et al. 1999, Smith et al. 1999, Bell et al. 2002, Smith et al. 2010.