Individual study: Rotational fallows as overwintering habitat for grassland arthropods: the case of spiders in fen meadows
Schmidt M.H., Rocker S., Hanafi J. & Gigon A. (2008) Rotational fallows as overwintering habitat for grassland arthropods: the case of spiders in fen meadows. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, 3003-3012
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Leave part of the crop or pasture unharvested or uncut
A replicated, controlled study on nine fen meadows in northern Switzerland (Schmidt et al. 2008) found overall spider (Araneae) species richness and abundance were similar between fallow strips and mown strips (fallow: 22.2 species, 75 individuals/m²; control: 19.8 species, 82 individuals/m²). Four out of ten spider families were more abundant in rotational fallows than completely mown plots (orb weavers (Araneidae), sac spiders (Clubionidae), ground spiders (Gnaphosidae) and jumping spiders (Salticidae)), four families had similar abundances (dwarf sheet spiders (Hahniidae), wolf spiders (Lycosidae), tangle-web spiders (Theridiidae) and crab spiders (Thomisidae)) and two had lower abundances in fallow strips (money spiders (Linyphiidae) and long jawed spiders (Tetragnathidae)). Three meadows were chosen in each of three regions. Starting in autumn 2002, in each meadow one plot of three 35-50 x 10 m-wide strips was mown rotationally (each year one of the three strips was not mown), and all three strips in the control plot were mown every year. Plots were mown in September and litter removed. Spiders were sampled March-June 2005 in each meadow using six emergence traps in the unmown fallow strip in the rotational plot and six traps in one mown strip in the control plot.