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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Grassland management and its effect on the wildlife value of field margins

Published source details

Bell A.C., Henry T. & McAdam J.H. (1994) Grassland management and its effect on the wildlife value of field margins. Proceedings the joint meeting between the British Grassland Society and the British Ecological Society. Grassland management and nature conservation, Leeds University, 27-29 September 1993, British Grassland Society Occasional Symposium 28, 185-189.

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Exclude livestock from semi-natural habitat (including woodland) Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial from 1990 to 1993 on grassland in Northern Ireland (Bell et al. 1994) found that protecting pasture field margins from grazing is likely to improve their wildlife value. When field margins were grazed by sheep (and fertilized), the plant and ground beetle (Carabidae) communities were more similar to those of the open field than to field margins. There were also greater soil temperature fluctuations in grazed margins and their hedges had more gaps. Three treatments and an unmanaged control were replicated three times in the margins of pasture fields on either side of mature hawthorn Crataegus monogyna hedges: fertilized and grazed; ploughed and sown with a game cover strip; and ploughed and left to recolonize naturally. Plants were sampled in July 1991 and August 1993 in quadrats positioned at intervals up to 9 m into each field. Ground beetles were sampled in March, May, July and September each year using three pitfall traps placed 1-2 m and 8-10 m on either side of the hedge.