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Individual study: Botanical diversity of beetle banks: effects of age and comparison with conventional arable field margins in southern UK

Published source details

Thomas S.R., Noordhuis R., Holland J.M. & Goulson D. (2002) Botanical diversity of beetle banks: effects of age and comparison with conventional arable field margins in southern UK. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 93, 403-412


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Create beetle banks Farmland Conservation

A replicated, paired, controlled study in the summers of 1998-1999 and late winter 1998-1999 on five farm estates in southern UK (Thomas et al. 2002) found lower summer plant species richness and diversity in beetle banks compared with conventional arable field margins. Both measures increased with age of beetle banks in summer. Beetle banks had higher cover of tussock-forming and other grasses, but lower cover of herbaceous, woody and nectar-providing plants in the second summer. In winter there was no difference in overall plant cover between beetle banks and field margins but average species richness was lower in beetle banks. Species richness increased with age in beetle banks. There was no relationship between tussock cover and age of bank in winter. Beetle banks, aged <1-14 years, were sown mainly with cock’s-foot Dactylis glomerata and had received no, or little, active management since establishment. Percentage cover of all plant species was assessed in twenty 0.5-m2 quadrats along each bank or margin in July 1998, January-February and July-August 1999. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as (Thomas et al. 2000, Thomas 2001, Thomas et al. 2001, Thomas 2002).