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Individual study: Can agri-environmental schemes enhance non-target species? Effects of sown wildflower fields on the common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) at local and landscape scales

Published source details

Fischer C. & Wagner C. (2016) Can agri-environmental schemes enhance non-target species? Effects of sown wildflower fields on the common hamster (Cricetus cricetus) at local and landscape scales. Biological Conservation, 194, 168-175


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Establish wild flower areas on farmland Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2013 on 28 fields in a mainly arable agricultural area in Bavaria, Germany (Fischer & Wagner 2016) found that fields sown with wild flowers under an agri-environment scheme contained more common hamsters Cricetus cricetus than did crop fields. Hamster burrow density was higher in wildflower fields (3.2 hamster burrows/ha) than in crop fields (0.3 hamster burrows/ha). Fourteen wildflower fields were paired with similarly sized fields of maize, barley, oilseed rape, wheat or sugar beet. The study area measured approximately 50 × 20 km. Paired field were ≥200 m apart and wildflower fields were 440–21,500 m apart. Most wildflower fields were established on less-favoured arable land. They were sown, between 2008 and 2010, with annual and perennial wild and cultivated plants, and were unmanaged thereafter. Burrows, in which hamsters had overwintered and reopened the entrance on emergence in spring, were mapped in May–June 2013.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)