Study

Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme benefits birds, plants and invertebrates in England

  • Published source details Evans A.D., Armstrong-Brown S. & Grice P.V. (2002) The role of research and development in the evolution of a 'smart' agri-environment scheme. Aspects of Applied Biology, 67, 253-264

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Leave overwinter stubbles

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Undersow spring cereals, with clover for example

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create beetle banks

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create beetle banks

Action Link
Natural Pest Control

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

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

    A 2002 review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) in the UK, from 1998 to 2001 found that grass margins benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp., bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta), but not ground beetles (Coleoptera). The grass margins set of options included uncropped cultivated wildlife strips, sown grass margins, naturally regenerated margins and beetle banks. The review does not distinguish between these options, although the beneficial effects were particularly pronounced on uncropped cultivated wildlife strips for all four groups. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants and invertebrates were monitored over three years, relative to control areas. Grass margins were implemented on total areas of 361 and 294 ha in East Anglia and the West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

     

  2. Leave overwinter stubbles

    A review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001)  evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) in the UK from 1998 to 2001 found that overwinter stubbles benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp. and true bugs (Hemiptera), especially when followed by spring fallow. Stubbles also benefited ground beetles (Carabidae) and sawflies (Symphyta). The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates and birds were monitored over three years, relative to control areas, or control farms. Only plants and invertebrates were measured within individual options. Overwinter stubbles were the most widely implemented options, with total areas of 974 and 2200 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

  3. Pay farmers to cover the costs of bird conservation measures

    A review of research on agri-environment schemes in the UK (Evans et al. 2002) summarised two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme (ASPS) in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998-2003. At the whole farm scale in winter, seed-eating songbirds, thrushes and wagtails showed some increase on agreement farms relative to control farms (numbers not given). In summer, numbers of breeding northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus, reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus, greenfinch Carduelis chloris, house sparrow Passer domesticus, common starling Sturnus vulgaris and yellow wagtail Motacilla flava were higher on agreement farms. Agreement farms had some of the following options: overwinter stubbles (sometimes preceded by reduced herbicide, followed by fallow or a spring crop), undersown spring cereals (sometimes followed by a grass or grass/clover ley), arable crop margins with reduced spraying (conservation headlands), grass margins or beetle banks and sown wildlife seed mixtures (pollen and nectar or wild bird seed mix). Over-winter stubble (974 and 2200 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively) and conservation headlands (605 and 1085 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively) were the most widely implemented options. The effects of the pilot scheme on birds were monitored at the farm scale over three years, relative to control areas, or control farms.

  4. Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture

    A review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions in the UK (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998 to 2003 found that ‘wildlife seed mix’ benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp., bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta), but not ground beetles (Carabidae). The wildlife seed mix option could be wild bird seed mix or nectar and pollen mix for pollinators, and the review does not distinguish between these mixes. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates and birds were monitored over three years, relative to control areas, or control farms. Only plants and invertebrates were measured within individual options. Wildlife seed mix was the least widely implemented option, with total areas of 106 and 152 ha in East Anglia and the West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe, G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

     

  5. Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes)

    A 2002 review of research on agri-environment schemes in England (Evans et al. 2002) summarized two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998-2001. At the whole farm scale in winter, seed-eating songbirds, thrushes (Turdidae) and wagtails (Motacilla spp.) showed some benefit on agreement farms relative to control farms (numbers not given). In summer, numbers of breeding northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus, reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus, greenfinch Carduelis chloris, house sparrow Passer domesticus, starling Sturnus vulgaris and yellow wagtail M. flava were higher on agreement farms. Agreement farms had some of the following options: overwinter stubbles (sometimes preceded by reduced herbicide, followed by fallow or a spring crop), undersown spring cereals (sometimes followed by a grass or grass/clover Trifolium spp. ley), arable crop margins with reduced spraying (conservation headlands), grass margins or beetle banks and sown wildlife seed mixtures (pollen and nectar or wild bird seed mix). Overwinter stubble (974 and 2200 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively) and conservation headlands (605 and 1085 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively) were the most widely implemented options. The effects of the pilot scheme on birds were monitored at the farm scale over three years, relative to control areas, or control farms.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. Farming and Rural Conservation Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS.

  6. Undersow spring cereals, with clover for example

    A review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) in the UK from 1998 to 2001 found that undersown spring cereals did not benefit plants or invertebrates. The undersown cereals could be preceded by overwinter stubble or followed by a grass or grass/clover ley. There were 148 ha and 470 ha of this option in total in East Anglia and the West Midlands respectively. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates (bumblebees Bombus spp., true bugs (Hemiptera), ground beetles (Carabidae), sawflies (Symphyta)) were monitored over three years, relative to control areas.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

  7. Create beetle banks

    A review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998 to 2001 found that grass margins benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp., bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta), but not ground beetles (Coleoptera). The grass margins set of options included sown grass margins, naturally regenerated margins, beetle banks and uncropped cultivated wildlife strips, but the review does not distinguish between these different options. None of the beneficial effects were pronounced on beetle banks. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates (bumblebees, true bugs, ground beetles, sawflies) were monitored over three years, relative to control areas. Grass margins were implemented on total areas of 361 and 294 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

  8. Create beetle banks

    A 2002 review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions of the UK (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998-2003 found that grass margin options (including beetle banks) benefitted bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta) but not ground beetles (Carabidae). The review does not specify whether bugs and sawflies were natural enemies or pests. The grass margin set of options included sown grass margins, naturally regenerated margins, beetle banks and uncropped cultivated wildlife strips. The review does not distinguish between these. None of the beneficial effects were pronounced on beetle banks. The effects of the pilot scheme on invertebrates were monitored relative to control areas over three years. Grass margins were implemented on total areas of 361 and 294 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe, G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

  9. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    A 2002 review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands, UK) from 1998 to 2001 found that grass margins benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp., true bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta), but not ground beetles (Carabidae). The grass margins set of options included sown grass margins, naturally regenerated margins, beetle banks and uncropped cultivated wildlife strips. The review does not distinguish between these, although the beneficial effects were particularly pronounced on sown or naturally regenerated grassy margins for true bugs. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates (bumblebees, true bugs, ground beetles, sawflies) were monitored over three years, relative to control areas. Grass margins were implemented on total areas of 361 and 294 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

  10. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

    A review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998 to 2001 found that grass margins benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp., true bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta), but not ground beetles (Carabidae). The grass margins set of options included sown grass margins, naturally regenerated margins, beetle banks and uncropped cultivated wildlife strips. The review does not distinguish between these, although the beneficial effects were particularly pronounced on sown or naturally regenerated grassy margins for true bugs. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates (bumblebees, true bugs, ground beetles, sawflies) were monitored over three years, relative to control areas. Grass margins were implemented on total areas of 361 and 294 ha in East Anglia and West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

     

  11. Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

    A 2002 review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) in the UK from 1998 to 2001 found that conservation headlands with restricted use of fertilizers, insecticides or both, benefited plants and true bugs (Hemiptera), but not bumblebees Bombus spp., ground beetles (Carabidae) or sawflies (Symphyta). There were total areas of 605 and 1085 ha of conservation headlands in East Anglia and the West Midlands respectively. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants and invertebrates were monitored over three years, relative to control areas.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable stewardship project officer review. Farming and Rural Conservation Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

  12. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A 2002 review (Evans et al. 2002) of two reports (Wilson et al. 2000, ADAS 2001) evaluating the effects of the Pilot Arable Stewardship Scheme in two regions (East Anglia and the West Midlands) from 1998 to 2003 found that ‘wildlife seed mix’ benefited plants, bumblebees Bombus spp., bugs (Hemiptera) and sawflies (Symphyta), but not ground beetles (Coleoptera). The wildlife seed mix option could be nectar and pollen mix for pollinators or wild bird seed mix, and the review does not distinguish between these. The effects of the pilot scheme on plants, invertebrates (bumblebees, true bugs, ground beetles, sawflies) and birds were monitored over three years, relative to control areas, or control farms. Only plants and invertebrates were measured within individual options. Wildlife seed mix was the least widely implemented option, with total areas of 106 and 152 ha in East Anglia and the West Midlands respectively.

    Additional references:

    Wilson S., Baylis M., Sherrott A. & Howe G. (2000) Arable Stewardship Project Officer Review. F. a. R. C. Agency report.

    ADAS (2001) Ecological evaluation of the Arable Stewardship Pilot Scheme, 1998-2000. ADAS report.

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