Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Conservation headlands for conservation of arable plant communities in the Breckland Environmetally Sensitive Area, Norfolk and Suffolk, England

Published source details

Hodkinson D.J., Critchley C.N.R. & Sherwood A.J. (1997) A botanical survey of conservation headlands in Breckland Environmentally Sensistive Area, UK. The Brighton Crop Protection Conference – Weeds, Brighton, 979-984.


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

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands) Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, randomized study of cereal headlands on 26 farms in East Anglia, UK (Hodkinson et al. 1997) found no significant difference in plant species richness or density between conservation and sprayed headlands, but plant composition did differ. Although figures tended to be higher in conservation headlands (6-12 m-wide, restricted pesticide applications, selected herbicides only), there was no significant difference between conservation and conventionally sprayed headlands in terms of species richness (10 vs 5), plant density (99 vs 47) or grass tiller count (73 vs 69). Conservation headlands had a significantly greater proportion of annuals and biennials to perennials (0.7 vs 0.5) and ratio of broadleaves (dicotyledons) to grasses (monocotyledons) (0.8 vs 0.6). On nine farms within the Breckland Environmentally Sensitive Area, three conservation headlands and one sprayed headland were selected. One conservation headland was randomly selected from each of an additional 17 farms. Three transects 50 m apart were located within randomly selected 100 m sections of headlands. Along these, three quadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m) at 1, 3 and 5 m from the field boundary in 6 m headlands and 2, 6 and 10 m from the boundary in 12 m headlands were surveyed.