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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual 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

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

Plant new hedges Farmland Conservation

A 1999 review of literature (Kromp 1999) found two unpublished studies showing that newly planted hedges supported field species of ground beetle (Carabidae).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).


Increase crop diversity Farmland Conservation

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).


Plant more than one crop per field (intercropping) Farmland Conservation

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.

Use organic rather than mineral fertilizers Farmland Conservation

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.


Reduce tillage Farmland Conservation

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.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

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.

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally Farmland Conservation

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.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

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