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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Riparian buffer strips have an effect on carabid beetle (Coleoptera, Carabidae) assemblage structure and diversity in intensively managed grassland fields in Scotland

Published source details

Cole L.J., Morton R. & Harrison W. (2008) The influence of riparian buffer strips on carabid beetle (Coleoptera, Carabidae) assemblage structure and diversity in intensively managed grassland fields. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, 2233-2245


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

Provide buffer strips alongside water courses (rivers and streams) Farmland Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study from 2004 to 2006 in Scotland (Cole et al. 2008) found that there were more plant species in riparian zones (grazed and ungrazed strips) compared to the adjacent intensively managed pasture fields. Ground beetle (Carabidae) diversity was greater in grazed riparian zones and in narrow ungrazed strips than in wide buffer strips or adjacent fields. However, ground beetle assemblages in wide buffer strips were more distinct from adjacent field assemblages than those in narrow strips or grazed riparian zones. There were no significant differences between the numbers of ground beetles or plant species in narrow or wide ungrazed buffer strips. Three types of riparian zone on seven farms were studied: open sites (no fence between the field and the watercourse, grazed by livestock), narrow strips (strips less than 2 m-wide fenced off around watercourse, ungrazed), and wide buffer strips (strips more than 4 m-wide fenced off around watercourse, ungrazed). Two transects were sampled at 22 locations, one adjacent to the watercourse, the other 4–6 m into the field from the fenceline (dividing the riparian zone from the field), or for unfenced, open sites 4–6 m from the watercourse transect. For wide buffer strip sites an additional transect was sampled, halfway between the fenceline and the watercourse transect. Ground beetles were sampled along transects during two 4-week periods (June and July) using pitfall traps (75 mm diameter). Vegetation composition was sampled using a quadrat (1 x 1 m) survey.