Study

Determinants of overwintering habitat quality for beetles and spiders on arable farmland

  • Published source details Pywell R.F., James K.L., Herbert I., Meek W.R., Carvell C., Bell D. & Sparks T.H. (2005) Determinants of overwintering habitat quality for beetles and spiders on arable farmland. Biological Conservation, 123, 79-90.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant new hedges

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Plant grass buffer strips/margins around arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant new hedges

    A replicated study in winter 2002 in Oxfordshire, UK (Pywell et al. 2005) found that the total abundance, species richness and diversity of beetles (Coleoptera) and spiders (Araneae), as well as abundance and species richness of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) was higher in hedge bases than in field margins, but there was no difference between recently planted (2-5 years old) and mature hedgerows (40-60 years old). Grass cover was lower, but the number of grass species higher, in the bases of recently established hedgerows compared with recently sown grass margins (3-4 years old). The diversity of vascular plant species was greater in recently established and mature hedgerows, as well as mature field margins (ca. 50 years old) compared with recently sown grass margins. The bases of recently planted hedgerows had fewer vascular plant species and lower cover of tall perennial wildflowers and mosses compared with mature field margins. Five geographically separate replicates of each of the four habitats were sampled for beetles and spiders in February 2002 by taking 12 soil core samples in a 70 m-long sampling section. Percentage cover of vascular plant species, moss and bare ground was estimated, and biomass (dry matter) and organic carbon content were measured.

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

    A replicated study in winter 2002 in Oxfordshire, UK (Pywell et al. 2005) found that the total abundance, species richness and diversity of beetles (Coleoptera) and spiders (Araneae), as well as abundance and species richness of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) were lower in field margins than in hedge bases, but there was no difference between recently sown (3-4 years old) and mature field margins (about 50 years old). The important aphid predator Bembidion lampros (ground beetle Carabidae) occurred in higher densities in both recently sown grass margins (8 individuals/m2) and mature (40-60 years old) hedge bases (12/m2) compared with mature field margins and recently planted hedges (2-5 years old). Another important aphid predator the rove beetle Tachyporus hypnorum was also found at highest densities in recently sown grass margins, although this finding was non-significant. Recently sown grass margins had higher grass cover, but lower grass species abundance and vascular plant species diversity than in the other habitats. Recently sown grass margins also had lower vascular plant species richness and lower wildflower and moss cover than mature field margins. Four overwintering habitats for beetles and spiders were surveyed at one site: recently sown grass margin, mature field margin, recently planted hedge base and mature hedge base. Five geographically separate replicates of each of the four habitats were sampled for beetles and spiders in February 2002 by taking 12 soil core samples in a 70 m long sampling section. Percentage cover of vascular plant species, moss and bare ground was estimated, and biomass (dry matter) and organic carbon content were measured.

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