Study

The influence of fine-scale habitat heterogeneity on invertebrate assemblage structure in upland semi-natural grassland

  • Published source details Cole L.J., Pollock M.L., Robertson D., Holland J.P., McCracken D.I. & Harrison W. (2010) The influence of fine-scale habitat heterogeneity on invertebrate assemblage structure in upland semi-natural grassland. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 136, 69-80.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain upland heath/moorland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Reduce grazing intensity on grassland by seasonal removal of livestock

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Maintain upland heath/moorland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Maintain upland heath/moorland

    A controlled study in 2002–2004 at an upland semi-natural grassland site in the Scottish Borders, UK (Cole et al. 2010) found that a site managed with low intensity grazing had a higher abundance of caterpillars than an intensively grazed site. A site which was only grazed in the summer had a higher abundance of caterpillars than a site which was grazed all year (data presented as statistical results). Two large (>40 ha) plots were grazed by 3–4 sheep/ha from autumn 2002: one during June–September only (low intensity grazing, 49.7 ha), the other year round (high intensity grazing, 74.9 ha). Invertebrates were sampled using pitfall transects (9 traps, 2 m apart) at 15 locations/plot for four weeks during May–June 2004.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland Synopsis)

  2. Reduce grazing intensity on grassland by seasonal removal of livestock

    A controlled study in 2002–2004 at an upland semi-natural grassland in the Scottish Borders, UK (Cole et al. 2010) found that a summer-grazed area had a higher abundance of caterpillars than an area with year-round grazing. A site which was only grazed in the summer had a higher abundance of caterpillars than a site which was grazed all year (data presented as statistical results). From autumn 2002, two large (>40 ha) plots were grazed by 3–4 sheep/ha: one during June–September only (49.7 ha), and the other year round (74.9 ha). Invertebrates were sampled using pitfall transects (9 traps, 2 m apart) at 15 locations/plot for four weeks during May–June 2004.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland Synopsis)

  3. Maintain upland heath/moorland

    An unreplicated trial in 2002-2004 at an upland semi-natural grassland site in Scottish Borders, Scotland, UK (Cole et al. 2010) (partly the same study as (Cole et al. 2006)) found that grazing intensity and area of fine- and broad-leaved grasses influenced the assemblage structure of mobile arthropods, immobile invertebrates and ground beetles (Carabidae) at a range of spatial scales. Intensively grazed sites were associated with smaller mobile arthropods (e.g. money spiders (Linyphiidae)), cranefly (Tipulidae) larvae and earthworms (Lumbricidae), while less intensively grazed sites were associated with larger mobile arthropods (e.g. wolf spiders (Lycosidae) and ground beetles of the genus Carabus), sawfly larvae (Symphyta) and caterpillars (Lepidoptera). The effect of grazing became less apparent at smaller spatial scales (≤1 m radius), where fine-scale habitat characteristics like vegetation structure and composition were more important. Two large (>40 ha) plots were grazed by 3-4 sheep/ha from autumn 2002: one during June-September (low intensity grazing), the other year round (high intensity grazing). Invertebrates were sampled using pitfall transects (9 traps) at 15 locations/plot during May-June 2004. Vegetation patches were mapped for GIS analysis in a 30 m diameter circle around each transect, and 25-50 vegetation height/species measurements were made in each patch in June and August 2004.

Output references
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