The effects of annual cultivation on plant community composition of uncropped arable field boundary strips

  • Published source details Critchley C.N.R., Fowbert J.A. & Sherwood A.J. (2006) The effects of annual cultivation on plant community composition of uncropped arable field boundary strips. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 113, 196-205.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave cultivated, uncropped margins or plots (includes 'lapwing plots')

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Leave cultivated, uncropped margins or plots (includes 'lapwing plots')

    A replicated before-and-after trial in 1997-2000 on cultivated headlands in arable fields at three sites in Suffolk, Hampshire and North Yorkshire, UK (Critchley et al. 2006) found that plant species richness increased when headlands were left uncropped with no inputs. In July 1997, before cropping ceased, the three sites had 33, 70 and 19 plant species respectively. When uncropped, the number of species found each year, over the three years of the trial, increased to 75-85 93-94 and 55-59 at the three sites respectively. Although the main components of the vegetation were target annual and broadleaved plants, there was also an increase in perennial plants (from 1-3% to 27-40% cover) and monocotyledons (mainly grasses) (1-10% to 18-31%), and the authors note that these may need to be controlled. Treatments were replicated three times (in 6 x 6 m plots) at each site. Plants were surveyed each July in 32 quadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m) in each plot.


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