Study

Butterflies and bumblebees in greenways and sown wildflower strips in southern Sweden

  • Published source details Haaland C. & Gyllin M. (2010) Butterflies and bumblebees in greenways and sown wildflower strips in southern Sweden. Journal of Insect Conservation, 14, 125-132.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2007 at four arable farms in south Sweden (Haaland & Gyllin 2010) found higher abundance and species richness of butterflies in sown wildflower strips than in grass margins (greenways or ‘beträdor’). In wildflower strips, the abundance of butterflies (10.4 individuals/100 m) was higher than in grass margins (0.6–1.4 individuals/100 m). In total, 86% of the recorded butterflies were found in the wildflower strips compared to 14% in the grass margins. Four species of butterfly were only found in the wildflower strips. Margins with more field scabious Knautia arvensis had higher species richness and abundance of butterflies (data presented as model results). At one farm, six wildflower strips (total 2.9 km) were sown in the mid-1990s using either a commercial mix of wildflowers and grasses, or hay from a nearby meadow, and were cut once a year at the end of July. At three farms, 14 grass strips (total 6.8 km) were sown with a mixture of grass species in the 1990s, 2004 and 2005, and were cut several times a year. Butterflies and the abundance of key flower species were recorded on transects five times from June–September 2007.

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

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

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2007 at four arable farms in south Sweden (Haaland & Gyllin 2010) found lower abundance and species richness of butterflies in grass margins (greenways or ‘beträdor’) than in sown wildflower strips. In grass margins, the abundance of butterflies (0.6–1.4 individuals/100 m) was lower than in wildflower strips (10.4 individuals/100 m). In total, 14% of the recorded butterflies were found in grass strips compared to 86% in the wildflower strips. Four species of butterfly were only found in the wildflower strips. Margins with adjacent bushes had higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than margins without bushes (data presented as model results). At three farms, 14 grass strips (total 6.8 km) were sown with a mixture of grass species in the 1990s, 2004 and 2005, and were cut several times a year. At one farm, six wildflower strips (total 2.9 km) were sown in the mid-1990s using either a commercial mix of wildflowers and grasses, or hay from a nearby meadow, and were cut once a year at the end of July. Butterflies were recorded on transects five times from June–September 2007.

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

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

    A replicated study in summer 2007 in south Sweden (Haaland & Gyllin 2010) found lower densities and species richness of butterflies (Lepidoptera) and bumblebees Bombus spp. in margins mainly sown with a mix of grass species, 4 m-wide (greenways or ‘beträdor’) than in sown wildflower strips. Fourteen percent of the recorded butterflies, and 17% of the bumblebees, were found in grass strips, and butterfly density was nearly 20 times lower in grass strips than in wildflower strips. Bumblebees were almost absent in the sown grass strips. However, the presence of bushes adjacent to grass strips positively influenced butterfly species richness and abundance of both butterflies and bumblebees. Butterflies and bumblebees were recorded on three grass strips (14 transects) and one wildflower strip (six transects) on five occasions on four arable farms. Butterflies and bumblebees were counted within 2 m either side of the observer and the flower species visited by the insects noted.

  4. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A replicated study in summer 2007 in south Sweden (Haaland & Gyllin 2010) found higher densities and species richness of butterflies (Lepidoptera) and bumblebees Bombus spp. in sown wildflower strips than in strips consisting mainly of grass species (greenways or ‘beträdor’). Eighty-six percent of the recorded butterflies and 83% of the bumblebees were found in wildflower strips. Butterfly density was nearly 20 times higher in wildflower strips than in the grass strips. The most common flowers visited were field scabious Knautia arvensis and knapweeds Centaurea spp. for butterflies, and knapweeds for bumblebees (72% of all recordings). The presence of bushes adjacent to the strip positively affected the number of butterfly species and individual numbers of both butterflies and bumblebees. Butterflies and bumblebees were recorded on one wildflower strip (six transects) and three grass strips (14 transects) on five occasions on four arable farms. Butterflies and bumblebees were counted within 2 m either side of the observer, and the flower species visited by the insects noted.

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