Study

Small mammals on set-aside blocks and margins

  • Published source details Tattersall F.H., Hart B.J., Manley W.J., Macdonald D.W. & Feber R.E. (1999) Small mammals on set-aside blocks and margins. Aspects of Applied Biology, 54, 131-138

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

    A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1997 at two farms in Gloucestershire, UK (Tattersall 1999) found that uncultivated field margins next to hedgerows hosted more small mammal individuals and species than did blocks of set-aside. Uncultivated margins had more small mammals (21 individuals, eight species/trap session) than did set-aside blocks (11 individuals, five species/trap session). Wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus comprised 76% of animals caught in margins and 50% of those caught in set-aside blocks. Species richness was higher in margins (2.6 species/trap session) than in blocks (2.1 species/trap session). Diversity did not differ significantly between margins and blocks (result presented as indices). Margins (one/farm) comprised 20-m wide sections, covering 5 ha, adjacent to hedgerows. Blocks of set-aside (one/farm) also covered 5 ha. Set-aside was established by sowing a grass/clover mix in 1995. This was cut annually, in July or August. Grids of 49 live traps were set in the centre of set-aside blocks and spanning the margin and adjacent hedgerow and crop. Traps operated over five nights in March, June, September and December of 19961997.

  2. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    A small, replicated study of set-aside on two Royal Agricultural College farms in Gloucester, England (Tattersall et al. 1999b; same study as Tattersall et al. 1999a) found that set-aside established as margins (20 m wide; 5 ha) next to hedgerow had a more abundant and species rich small mammal community than larger (5 ha) blocks. Set-aside margins had more mammals (21 animals, 8 species caught/trap session) than larger blocks (11 animals, five species caught/trap session).  Wood mice dominated (76% on margins; 50% on blocks). Species richness, but not diversity, was significantly greater on margins (richness: 2.4; diversity: 0.3) than blocks (richness: 2.1; diversity: 0.2). Both parameters increased from 1996 to 1997.  The abundances of species changed with time and season on set-aside margins and blocks. Set-aside was established by sowing a grass/clover mix in 1995, which was cut annually in July or August. Grids of 49 traps were set in the centre of set-aside blocks and spanning the set-aside margin and adjacent hedgerow and crop. Traps were set for five nights in March, June, September and December 1996-1997 and a mark recapture technique followed.

     

Output references

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