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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Methods of increasing invertebrate abundance within field margins

Published source details

Haughton A.J., Bell J.R., Gates S., Johnson P.J., Macdonald D.W., Tattersall F.H. & Hart B.H. (1999) Methods of increasing invertebrate abundance within field margins. Aspects of Applied Biology, 54, 163-170


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 randomized, replicated study from 1995 to 1996 in Oxfordshire, UK (Haughton et al. 1999) (same study as Feber et al. 1994) found that total numbers of invertebrates and leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha) were significantly lower in unsown, naturally generated margins than in sown wildflower margins. Cut plots (in summer alone, spring and summer or spring and autumn) had significantly lower numbers of all invertebrates, spiders (Araneae), true bugs (Heteroptera) and leafhoppers than uncut plots in all seasons, apart from spiders and true bugs in May. There was no effect of cutting frequency or timing or leaving/removing hay on invertebrate numbers. Invertebrates were sampled using a D-Vac suction sampler at 10 m intervals along each plot in May, July and September in 1995-1996. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as Feber et al. 1994, Feber et al. 1996, Baines et al. 1998, Bell et al. 1999, Bell et al. 2002, Smith et al. 2010).

 

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands) Farmland Conservation

A replicated, randomized study in Oxfordshire, UK (Haughton et al. 1999) found that from 1995 to 1996 spraying naturally generated margins with herbicides resulted in significantly lower numbers of invertebrates than leaving them unsprayed (650 vs 1275 invertebrates respectively). The same was true for spiders (Araneae) in all seasons (56-138 vs 107-392), true bugs (Heteroptera) in September (8 vs 27) and leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha) in July and September (39-60 vs 112-171). Existing field margins (0.5 m-wide) were extended by 1.5 m in October 1987. These were rotavated and left to naturally regenerate or sown with a wildflower seed mix. Six management treatments were applied with six replicates in a randomized block design. Fifty metre-long plots received one of six treatments: sprayed once a year in summer, uncut, cut once in summer, cut spring and summer, cut spring and autumn, cut spring and summer (hay left lying). Invertebrates were sampled using a D-Vac suction sampler at 10 m intervals along each plot in May, July and September in 1995-1996.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A replicated, randomized study in Oxfordshire, UK (Haughton et al. 1999) found that from 1995 to 1996 total numbers of invertebrates and leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha) were significantly higher in sown wildflower margins than in unsown, naturally regenerated margins. Cut plots (cut in summer alone, spring and summer or spring and autumn) had significantly lower numbers of all invertebrates, spiders (Araneae), true bugs (Heteroptera) and leafhoppers than uncut plots in all seasons, apart from spiders and true bugs in May. Numbers of all invertebrates were significantly higher in treatments cut twice a year than annually. Cutting in spring and autumn resulted in higher numbers of invertebrates. The abundance of spiders was significantly higher in plots cut bi-annually in spring and autumn than in spring and summer (in July and September samples). Existing field margins (0.5 m wide) were extended by 1.5 m in October 1987. These were rotavated and left to naturally regenerate or sown with a wildflower seed mix. Six management treatments were applied with six replicates in a randomized block design on fifty metre-long plots: uncut, cut once in summer, cut spring and summer, cut spring and autumn, cut spring and summer (hay left lying), sprayed once a year in summer. Invertebrates were sampled using a D-Vac suction sampler at 10 m intervals along each plot in May, July and September in 1995-1996. This study is part of the same study design as Feber et al. 1994, Feber et al. 1996, Baines et al. 1998, Bell et al. 1999, Smith et al. 1999, Bell et al. 2002, Smith et al. 2010.