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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Management for grassland biodiversity.

Published source details

Hopkins A. & Feber R.E. (1997) Management for grassland biodiversity. International Occasional Symposium of the European Grassland Federation. Warszawa-Lomza, Poland, 19-23 May 1997, 69-73.


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in summer 1996 in Gloucestershire, UK (Hopkins & Feber 1997), found higher overall butterfly abundance and species richness in plots sown with a wild grass/flower seed mixture (four grasses, five wildflowers) than in naturally regenerated plots. Vegetation removal had no effect on butterfly abundance, but overall species richness was lower in plots cut for silage in June and grazed by cattle in July. Plant species richness was on average higher in sown than naturally regenerated plots (23 vs 19 species). Vegetation removal had no effect on plant species richness but uncut/ungrazed plots had more wildflower species in flower in July. In September 1994, twenty 50 m long experimental plots were created in the margins of two adjoining organic fields. Ten plots were sown, ten were allowed to naturally regenerate. Presence of all sown and unsown plant species were recorded as well as wildflower species in flower (May and July 1996). Butterflies were monitored weekly June-September along a transect route.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

A replicated study in summer 1996 in Gloucestershire, UK (Hopkins & Feber 1997) (same study as Feber & Hopkins 1997) found lower overall butterfly (Lepidoptera) abundance and species richness in ten naturally regenerated experimental plots than in ten plots sown with a wild grass/flower seed mixture. Vegetation removal (plots cut for silage in June, grazed by cattle in July) had no effect on butterfly abundance however butterfly species richness was lower in cut/grazed plots. Plant species richness was on average lower in naturally regenerated plots than in sown plots (19 vs 23 species). Vegetation removal had no effect on plant species richness but non-defoliated plots had more wildflower species in flower in July. In September 1994, 20 contiguous 50 m-long experimental plots were created in the margins of two adjoining organic fields on one farm by widening the existing 0.5 m margin to 2 m width. Presence of all sown and unsown plant species were recorded as well as wildflowers in flower (May and July 1996). Butterflies were monitored weekly June-September along a transect route.