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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Agri-environment scheme enhances small mammal diversity and abundance at the farm-scale

Published source details

Broughton R.K., Shore R.F., Heard M.S., Amy S.R., Meek W.R., Redhead J.W., Turk A. & Pywell R.F. (2014) Agri-environment scheme enhances small mammal diversity and abundance at the farm-scale. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 192, 122-129


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

Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2005–2011 on an arable farm in Buckinghamshire, UK (Broughton et al. 2014) found that in wide grassy or grass and flower margins created on arable fields through enrolment in an agri-environment scheme, small mammal abundance in spring increased over the study period, but it remained stable in narrow, conventionally managed field margins. Small mammal abundance in spring rose by 140% on wide grassy margins and grass and flower margins over the first five years following establishment. There was no significant abundance change on conventional margins, nor any differences between margins in autumn population changes. Absolute counts are not presented in the paper. There were five replicates of three treatments, each on 43–70 ha of farmland. Treatments were 6 m-wide grassy margins (‘Entry Level Scheme’) and 6 m-wide grass and wildflower margins (‘Entry Level Scheme Extra’) both created as part of an agri-environment scheme, and conventional management (uncultivated, 2 m-wide field margins or 1 m margins alongside ditches). Margins were established in 2005. Small mammals were live-trapped, over three nights and two days, in November–December 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and each following May.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2005–2011 on an arable farm in Buckinghamshire, UK (Broughton et al. 2014) found that in wide grassy or grass and flower margins on arable fields, small mammal abundance in spring increased over the study period, but it remained stable in narrow, conventionally managed field margins. Small mammal abundance in spring rose by 140% on wide grassy margins and grass and flower margins over the first five years following establishment. There was no significant abundance change on conventional margins, nor any differences between margins in autumn population changes. Absolute counts are not presented in the paper. There were five replicates of three treatments, each on 43–70 ha of farmland. Treatments were conventional management (uncultivated, 2 m-wide field margins or 1 m margins alongside ditches), 6 m-wide grassy margins and 6 m-wide grass and wildflower margins. Margins were established in 2005. Small mammals were live-trapped, over three nights and two days, in November–December 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and each following May.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)