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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Establishment of vegetation in broadened field boundaries in agricultural landscapes

Published source details

Bokenstrand A., Lagerlöf J & Torstensson P.R. (2004) Establishment of vegetation in broadened field boundaries in agricultural landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 101, 21-29


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

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated controlled study in 1988-1997 in south-central Sweden (Bokenstrand et al. 2004), found that experimental plots sown with a clover Trifolium spp. and grass mix in a re-established field boundary on an organic farm had lower plant species richness than plots planted with rose bushes Rosa canina and/or sown with meadow plants or allowed to regenerate naturally one year after establishment. In two other (widened) field boundaries in a conventional system, clover and grass plots had fewer plant species nine years after establishment than plots with meadow plants. Seven years after establishment, total weed cover at the organic farm was higher in plots sown with a clover and grass mix, in natural regeneration plots and in reference boundary sections compared with plots with rose bushes and/or meadow plants. In two field boundaries total weed cover decreased in all treatments, except the clover and grass mix where it remained stable or increased. Four replicates of three or four treatments were established in experimental plots at the site of each field boundary in 1988 or 1990, either by widening an existing boundary or re-establishing a previously removed dirt road (organic site). All plots were cut annually in late summer and the cuttings removed. Vegetation surveys were carried out twice in experimental plots (1991-1993 and 1997) and once in reference boundaries (1997) in three to five 0.25 m2 quadrats. It is not clear whether the results for clover and grass plots were a direct result of planting nectar flowers or grass.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated controlled study between 1988 and 1997 in Sweden (Bokenstrand et al. 2004), found higher plant species richness in experimental field margin plots allowed to regenerate naturally than in plots sown with a clover and grass seed mixture after one year. Seven years after establishment, naturally regenerated plots, clover and grass plots and control boundaries had higher cover of weeds in total and of couch grass Elytrigia repens than plots planted with rose bushes Rosa canina and/or meadow plants. Couch grass increased in all treatments but significantly so in naturally regenerated plots and plots with clover and grass. Plots with meadow plants and naturally regenerated plots had similar species richness but quite different species compositions due to a high cover of annual weeds in the latter. In 1990, four replicates of each treatment (naturally regenerated, planted with rose bushes and/or sown with meadow plants, sown with clover Trifolium spp. and grass mixture) were established randomly along the stretch of a previously removed dirt road. All plots were cut annually in late summer and the cuttings removed. Vegetation surveys were carried out twice in experimental plots (1991 and 1997) and once in control boundaries (1997) in three to five 0.25 m2 quadrats. It is not clear whether the results for clover and grass plots were a direct result of planting nectar flowers or grass.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A replicated controlled study from 1988 to 1997 in south-central Sweden (Bokenstrand et al. 2004), found higher plant species richness in two plots sown with wildflowers (32 wildflower and grass species) than in plots planted with rose bushes Rosa canina, sown with a clover Trifolium pratense and grass seed mix, or in adjacent untreated field boundaries (control), nine years after establishment. At the third site (organic), plots sown with wildflowers and/or planted with rose bushes had lower weed and couch grass Elytrigia repens cover compared with untreated field boundaries, naturally regenerated plots and plots sown with a clover and grass mix, seven years after establishment. In two of the field boundaries, total weed cover decreased in all treatments except ‘clover and grass’ where it remained stable or increased. Couch grass cover increased in all treatments in two of the boundaries. Plant species richness tended to decline in most treatments over time, however in experimental plots sown with wildflowers and/or planted with rose bushes, 14-20 of the original 32 wildflower species were still present seven or nine years after establishment. In ‘clover and grass’ plots the clover component decreased or totally disappeared, while sown and unsown grasses and weeds increased. At the organic site, wildflower sown plots and naturally regenerated plots had similar species richness but different species compositions due to a high cover of annual weeds in the naturally regenerated plots. Four replicates of three-four treatments were established in experimental plots on each field boundary in 1988 or 1990, either by widening an existing boundary or re-establishing a previously removed dirt road (organic site). All plots were cut annually in late summer and the cuttings removed. Vegetation surveys were carried out twice in experimental plots (1991-1993 and 1997) and once in untreated field boundaries (1997) in three to five 0.25 m2 quadrats. It is not clear whether the results for clover and grass plots were a direct result of planting nectar flowers or grass.