Study

Development of biodiversity in field margins recently taken out of production and adjacent ditch banks in arable areas

  • Published source details Musters C.J.M., Alebeek F.V., Geers R.H.E.M., Korevaar H., Visser A. & Snoo G.R.D. (2009) Development of biodiversity in field margins recently taken out of production and adjacent ditch banks in arable areas. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 129, 131-139.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

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

    A replicated study on six arable farms in the Netherlands (Musters et al. 2009) found that the number of butterfly species in sown grass field margins increased in the eight years following establishment. More than half of the transects had increased butterfly species richness in the 1–8 years following the establishment of margins (data presented as model results). Field margins (2–3 m wide) were sown with grasses on six farms across the Netherlands. All margins were mown at least once a year and cuttings removed. No nutrients, pesticides or herbicides were applied to any of the margins. Butterflies were counted on twenty-one 50-m transects along field margins on six farms. Transect counts were either every week from April–September, or 2–5 times during summer, for 2–8 years after the margins were established (exact years not given).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland synopsis)

  2. Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

    A series of three replicated trials in the Netherlands (Musters et al. 2009) found that the number of plant species in field margins and adjacent ditch banks increased in the four years following establishment of 2-3 m-wide sown grass and wildflower field margins. More field margins and ditch banks showed a decline in cover of agricultural weeds following margin establishment. For both butterflies (Lepidoptera) and dragonflies (Odonata), more than half the transects showed increased species diversity in field margins, in the two to eight years following the establishment of margins. Ninety field margins at least 2 m-wide were established on 21 farms across the Netherlands and monitored for two to six years. On 20 of the farms, 107 ditch banks alongside 3 m wide field margins were also monitored. Most margins were planted with grasses. All margins and ditch banks were mown at least once a year and cuttings removed. Plant species richness was measured in permanent quadrats or sections. Butterflies were counted in 50 m transect counts along field margins on six farms, and dragonflies on five farms. Transect counts were either every week, or two to five times during summer.

Output references
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