Study

A review of the effects of conservation interventions on ground beetles in agricultural habitats

  • Published source details Kromp B. (1999) Carabid beetles in sustainable agriculture: a review on pest control efficacy, cultivation impacts and enhancement. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 74, 187-228

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant new hedges

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Increase crop diversity

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Reduce tillage

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant new hedges

    A 1999 review of literature (Kromp 1999) found two unpublished studies showing that newly planted hedges supported field species of ground beetle (Carabidae). In one study, the youngest hedge, three years old, had more ground beetles than 5-, 9- or 40-year old hedges. Another study in Germany showed that newly planted hedges linking patches of semi-natural habitat were not used as corridors by forest or openland ground beetle species (Gruttke 1994).

     

  2. Increase crop diversity

    A 1999 literature review (Kromp 1999) found two studies that compared ground beetles (Carabidae) in maize Zea mays fields in monoculture with those in crop rotation. One found more ground beetles in monocultures in large fields (28-400 ha; (Lovei 1984)), the other (with smaller fields measuring just a few hectares) is reported to have found no major differences, except for the presence of three additional species in crop-rotated maize (Desender & Alderweireldt 1990).

     

  3. Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping)

    A 1999 review of literature (Kromp 1999) reported six studies showing that intercropping enhanced ground beetle (Carabidae) numbers: (Tukahirwa & Coaker 1982, Wiech & Wnuk1991), Armstrong & McKinlay (1994), Carcamo & Spence (1994), Helenius & Tolonen (1994), (Booij et al. 1997), relative to single crops.

  4. Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers

    A 1999 literature review (Kromp 1999) found six studies testing the effects of using organic rather than mineral fertilizers. Five studies found more ground beetles (Carabidae) with organic manure (in one case green manure) than mineral fertilizer, these included (Pietraszko & De Clercq 1982, Hance & Gregoirewibo 1987, Humphreys & Mowat 1994). One study (Idinger et al. 1996) found no difference in the total numbers of ground beetles between compost and mineral fertilizer.

     

  5. Reduce tillage

    A 1999 literature review (Kromp 1999) found that reduced tillage (either shallow ploughing, ‘conservation’ tillage or no tillage) has been shown to enhance ground beetle (Carabidae) numbers in four European studies (including (Heimbach & Garbe 1996)) relative to conventional ploughing. One European study showed no difference in numbers between conventionally ploughed and reduced tillage fields (Paul 1986). One European study (Baguette & Hance 1997) showed greater numbers of ground beetles on deep ploughed fields than under reduced tillage. However, different species responded differently. One study (Baguette & Hance 1997) listed seven ground beetle species associated with reduced tillage or untilled plots.

    Additional references:

    Paul W.-D. (1986) Vergleich der epigäischen Bodenfauna bei wendender bzw. nichtwendender Grundbodenbearbeitung. Mitteilungen aus der Biologischen Bundesanstalt für Land und Forstwirtschaft, Berlin-Dahlem, 232-290.

  6. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

    A 1999 review of literature (Kromp 1999) found that uncropped field margins, left to naturally regenerate, were shown to increase ground beetle (Carabidae) numbers by three studies (Müller 1991, Cardwell et al. 1994, plus one unpublished study). In one case (Cardwell et al. 1994) there were more beetles than in conventional crop margins.

    Additional references:

    Müller L. (1991) Auswirkungen der extensivierungsförderung auf Wirbellose. Faunistisch-Okologische Mitteilungen, S10, 41-70.

  7. Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

    A review of literature (Kromp 1999) found evidence that decreases in ground beetle fauna (numbers of species and individuals) caused by intensive agriculture can be reversed by reducing pesticide and fertilizer use (three European studies, including Büchs et al. 1997). Different species responded differently.

  8. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A 1999 review of literature (Kromp 1999) found four experimental studies (Bürki & Hausammann 1993, Lys & Nentwig 1994, Zangger et al. 1994, Frank 1997) have found higher numbers or species diversity of ground beetles (Carabidae) in sown wildflower strips in cereal fields

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust