Study

The effect of arable field margin structure and composition on Orthoptera assemblages

  • Published source details Marshall G.M. (2007) The effect of arable field margin structure and composition on Orthoptera assemblages. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, 231-238.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    A small replicated site comparison study in 2005 in Oxfordshire, UK (Marshall 2007) found that field margins sown with a grass and wild flower mix had more species and individual grasshoppers and crickets (Orthoptera) than margins sown with grass only, wildflower margins, or grassy tracks. Narrow grass and wildflower margins (2 m wide) had an average of 10 insects from four species, compared to 1-4 individuals from less than two species for the other margin types. Wide grass and wildflower margins (6 m) also had more species and individuals than others (8 individuals, 2.5 species/margin on average), but this was not always statistically significant. Seventy-three percent of all crickets and grasshoppers caught were in margins sown with a grass and flower mix. The grass and flower margins had intermediate vegetation height (30-40 cm), low cover of bare ground and intermediate grass and flower cover compared to other margins. Three replicates of five field margin types were monitored on a large mixed farm: grass and wildflower mix (2 m), grass and wildflower mix (6 m), grass only mix, wildflower mix, grassy track. Grasshoppers and crickets were surveyed using a sweep net over two 20 minute periods in a 50 m section of each margin, in late July or August 2005.

  2. Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips

    A small replicated site comparison study in 2005 in Oxfordshire, UK (Marshall 2007) found that field margins sown with a wildflower mix had fewer grasshopper and cricket (Orthoptera) species and individuals than margins sown with a grass and flower mix (floristically enhanced grassy margins). Wildflower margins had less than four individual insects from one species/margin on average, compared to 10 individuals from four species on narrow grass and flower margins (2 m-wide). They did not have more grasshopper/crickets than sown grassy margins, or existing grassy tracks. The wildflower margins had the lowest grass cover (less than 60%), compared to 100% for sown grass and flower margins. Three replicates of five field margin types were monitored on a large mixed farm: grass and wildflower mix (2 m), grass and wildflower mix (6 m), grass only mix, wildflower mix, grassy track. Grasshoppers and crickets were surveyed using a sweep net over two 20 minute periods in a 50 m-section of each margin, in late July or August 2005.

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