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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Improving natural pest suppression in arable farming: field margins and the importance of ground dwelling predators.

Published source details

Alebeek F.V., Kamstra J.H., Kruistum G.V. & Visser A. (2006) Improving natural pest suppression in arable farming: field margins and the importance of ground dwelling predators. Landscape management for functional biodiversity, 2nd Working Group meeting, Zürich-Reckenholz, Switzerland, 16-19 May 2006, 29, 137-140.


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 Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study from 2001 to 2005 of organic arable fields in the Netherlands (Alebeek et al. 2006) found that greater numbers of overwintering generalist predators were recorded in unmown perennial field margins compared to mown grass strips and bare fields. Higher numbers of generalist predators (ground beetles Carabidae, spiders Araneae, rove beetles Staphylinidae) were found in unmown margins (202 individuals/m²) than mown strips (124/m²) and bare fields (152/m²). Over twice as many overwintering ground beetles were found within margins (101/m²) than mown strips and fields (33-48/m²). The same was true for other beetles (margins: 112/m²; mown grass strips: 45/m²; bare fields: 36/m²). One farm system sampled had numerous field margins (21% of area), whilst the other had few (5% area). To catch overwintering arthropods, pitfall traps were set within enclosures (1 x 1 m²) in March-May 2004, three within unmown field margins, three within short-mown grass strips and six in bare soil plots in fields. Pests and pest predation were also sampled, but results are not presented here.