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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of headland management on invertebrate communities in cereal fields

Published source details

Hassall M., Hawthorne A., Maudsley M., White P. & Cardwell C. (1992) Effects of headland management on invertebrate communities in cereal fields. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 40, 155-178


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 1988 in East Anglia, UK (Hassall et al. 1992) found that ground beetles (Carabidae), true bugs (Heteroptera) and spiders (Araneae) were more abundant in uncropped headlands than cropped conservation (restricted pesticides) and conventional headlands. For each group, significantly more individuals were found in uncropped headlands (average number of individuals per site; spiders: 210; ground beetles: 260; true bugs: 50) than in conservation or sprayed headlands or in crops (spiders: 100-110; ground beetles: 70-160; true bugs: 15-30). Ground beetles were twice as abundant in crops adjacent to uncropped and conservation headlands than adjacent to sprayed headlands. Numbers of species were higher in uncropped headlands (ground beetles: 21 species; true bugs: 5; spiders: 26) than conservation and sprayed headlands (ground beetles: 15-18 species; true bugs: 2-3; spiders: 15-17). Spider diversity was significantly higher in uncropped (Simpson’s index: 6) than conservation and sprayed headlands and in the crop (2-3); ground beetles (4-8) and true bug (1-3) diversity did not differ. True bug nymphs Nabis ferus penetrated further into crops adjacent to uncropped and conservation headlands than sprayed headlands. Headlands represented the outer 6 m of eight barley fields at three locations. Parallel grids of 6 x 50m were set up in the headlands and the crop (8-14m from the headland), and sub-divided into fifteen 10 x 2 m sections. One pitfall trap was placed in each section (15 traps/grid). A further 2 x 50m grid was set up in the verge parallel to the field margin and divided into five 2 x 10m sections (5 traps/grid). Traps were emptied after 14 days in June-July 1988. A Dietrick Vacuum sampler was used along five transect lines (0-15 m into the crop), two samples consisting of five subsamples (each 0.4 m²) were taken three weeks apart.

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands) Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study of headlands (outer 6 m) of eight barley fields over one year 1988 at three locations within the Breckland Environmentally Sensitive Area in East Anglia, UK (Hassall et al. 1992) (same study as (Cardwell et al. 1994)) found that ground beetles (Carabidae) and true bugs (Heteroptera), but not spiders (Araneae), were more abundant in conservation headlands (restricted pesticides) than sprayed headlands. Ground beetles and true bugs were significantly more abundant in conservation headlands (ground beetles: 160, true bugs: 30) than sprayed headlands (ground beetles: 70, true bugs: 25), spiders did not differ significantly (110 vs. 100). Ground beetles were twice as abundant in crops adjacent to conservation headlands than adjacent to sprayed headlands. There were significantly more ground beetle and true bug species in conservation headlands (ground beetles: 18, true bugs: 3 species) than in sprayed headlands (ground beetles: 15, true bugs: 2), species diversity did not differ significantly (ground beetles: 5-8, true bugs: 2, spiders: 2-3). Spider diversity and biovolume increased with age of site. True bug nymphs (for example field damsel bug Nabis ferus) penetrated further into the crop adjacent to conservation headlands than sprayed headlands. Thirty-five pitfall traps were set up in 6 x 50 m grids at each site (in headlands and crops) and emptied after 14 days in June-July 1988. A Dietrick Vacuum sampler was used along five transect lines (0-15 m into the crop), two samples were taken each of five subsamples (each 0.4 m²).