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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Diversity of plant and butterfly species on organic farmland field margins in relation to management.

Published source details

Feber R.E. & Hopkins A. (1997) Diversity of plant and butterfly species on organic farmland field margins in relation to management. British Grassland Society Fifth Research Conference, University of Plymouth, Devon, UK, 8-10 September 1997, 63-64.


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 replicated study in 1994-1996 in Gloucestershire, UK (Feber & Hopkins 1997) (same study as Hopkins & Feber 1997) found that plant species richness as well as abundance and diversity of butterflies (Lepidoptera), was lower in naturally regenerated margins than in sown wildflower margins (for plants: 19 vs 23 species). Cutting and subsequent grazing of naturally regenerated margins significantly decreased butterfly diversity (3 vs 6 species) but not abundance (5 vs 10 individuals). Margins were established around two organically-managed arable fields by either sowing a seed mix (containing five grasses, six forbs) or by natural regeneration in 1994. In 1996, part of the margins were cut in June and grazed in July. The rest was left untreated. Butterflies were monitored along transects weekly from May to September 1996. Abundance of all plants present as well as flower abundance at the time of the survey was recorded in May and in September 1996.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in 1994-1996 in Gloucestershire, UK (Feber & Hopkins 1997) found higher plant species richness (23 vs 19 species) as well as higher abundance and diversity of butterflies (Lepidoptera) in sown wildflower margins than in naturally regenerated margins. Cutting and subsequent grazing of the sown margins significantly decreased butterfly diversity (5.6 vs 6.8 species) but not abundance (14.6 vs 16.3 individuals). Margins were established around two organically-managed arable fields by either sowing a seed mix (containing five grasses, six wildflowers) or by natural regeneration in 1994. In 1996 part of the margins were cut in June and grazed in July. The rest was left untreated. Butterflies were monitored along transects weekly from May to September 1996. Plant species and flower abundance were recorded in May and September 1996.