Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Wild bird and wildflower seed mix provide the best wildlife benefits in arable land; a two year study on a farm in Warwickshire, UK

Published source details

Pywell R. & Nowakowski M. (2008) Farming for Wildlife Project: Annual Report 2007/8. NERC report.


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

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields for birds Bird Conservation

The second monitoring year of the same study as Pywell & Noweakowski (2007), from 2005-2007 (Pywell & Noweakowski 2008) found that naturally regenerated plots did not have more birds in winter than control cereal plots. There were two birds/plot or fewer, and 0.4-1.6 bird species/plot on average on all treatments except wild bird seed mix (see ‘Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture’). Farmland birds were counted on each plot on four counts between December 2007 and March 2008. The crop control in the second year was winter wheat.

 

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips for birds Bird Conservation

The second monitoring year of the same study as Pywell and Noweakowski (2007), from 2005-2007 (Pywell & Noweakowski 2008) found that wildflower plots did not have more birds in winter than control cereal plots. There were two birds/plot or fewer, and 0.4-1.6 bird species/plot on average on all treatments except those sown with wild bird seed mix. Farmland birds were counted on each plot on four counts between December 2007 and March 2008. The crop control in year two was winter wheat.

 

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Bird Conservation

The second monitoring year of the same study as (Pywell & Nowakowski 2007) in 2005-2007 Pywell and Nowakowski (2008) found that wild bird cover plots had more birds of more species in winter (86 birds/plot, of six species on average) than control cereal plots, plots sown with wildflower seed mix or left to naturally regenerate (2 birds/plot or less, and 0.4-1.6 species/plot on average). Farmland birds were counted on each plot on four counts between December 2007 and March 2008. The crop control in year two was winter wheat.

 

Plant wild bird seed or cover mixture Farmland Conservation

The second monitoring year of the same study as (Pywell & Nowakowski 2007) in the UK (Pywell & Nowakowski 2008) found that wild bird seed mix plots had more birds in winter (86 birds/plot, of six species on average) than control cereal plots, plots sown with wildflower seed mix or plots left to naturally regenerate (2 birds/plot or less, and 0.4-1.6 species/plot on average). Wild bird seed plots also had more bumblebee Bombus spp. and butterfly (Lepidoptera) individuals and species than naturally regenerated or control cereal plots and more vacuum-sampled invertebrates than control plots. Wild bird seed plots had eight plant species/m2, 40 bumblebees and four bumblebee species/plot, 18 butterflies and six butterfly species/plot, compared to three plant species/m2, no bumblebees and one butterfly/plot on control cereal plots. Control plots had 254 vacuum-sampled canopy-dwelling invertebrates/m2 on average, compared to 840-1,197/m2 on other treatments. Plants were monitored in three 1 m2 quadrats/plot in June 2007. Butterflies, bumblebees and flowering plants were recorded in a 6 m-wide transect six times between July and September 2006 and 2007. Invertebrates in the vegetation were vacuum sampled in early July 2007. Farmland birds were counted on each plot on four counts between December 2007 and March 2008. The crop control in year two was winter wheat.

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Farmland Conservation

The second monitoring year of the same replicated, controlled study as Pywell & Nowakowski 2007 in the UK from 2005-2007 (Pywell & Nowakowski 2008) found that naturally regenerated plots had more plant species and more vacuum-sampled invertebrates (individuals and groups) than control plots, but not more butterflies (Lepidoptera) or birds in winter. Naturally regenerated plots had 6 plant species/m2; 7 bumblebee Bombus spp. individuals/plot; 5 butterfly individuals and two butterfly species/plot, compared to 3 plant species/m2; 0 bumblebee individuals, and 1 butterfly individual/plot on control cereal plots. Control plots had 254 vacuum-sampled canopy-dwelling invertebrates/m2 on average, compared to 840-1,197/m2 on other treatments. Plants were monitored in three 1 m2 quadrats per plot in June 2007. Butterflies, bumblebees and flowering plants were recorded in a 6 m-wide transect six times between July and September in 2006 and 2007. Invertebrates in the vegetation were vacuum-sampled in early July 2007. Farmland birds were counted on each plot on four counts between December 2007 and March 2008. The crop control in year two was winter wheat.

Plant nectar flower mixture/wildflower strips Farmland Conservation

A replicated controlled trial from 2005 to 2007 in Warwickshire, UK (Pywell & Nowakowski 2008) (the second monitoring year of the same study as Pywell & Nowakowski 2007) found that wildflower plots had more plant species, bumblebees Bombus spp. and butterflies (Lepidoptera) (individuals and species) than naturally regenerated or control cereal plots, and more vacuum-sampled invertebrates than control plots. Wildflower plots did not have more birds in winter than control plots. On wildflower plots there were 10 plant species/m2, 63 bumblebees and 5 bumblebee species/plot, 18 butterflies and 6 butterfly species/plot, compared to 3 plant species/m2, 0 bumblebees, and 1 butterfly/plot on control cereal plots. Control cereal plots had 254 vacuum-sampled canopy-dwelling invertebrates/m2 on average, compared to 840-1,197/m2 on other treatments. Plants were monitored in three 1 m2 quadrats in each plot in June 2007. Butterflies, bumblebees and flowering plants were recorded in a 6 m-wide transect six times between July and September 2006 and 2007. Invertebrates in the vegetation were vacuum-sampled in early July 2007. Farmland birds were counted on each plot on four counts between December 2007 and March 2008. The crop control in year two was winter wheat.