Study

Population trends of brown hares in Switzerland: the role of land-use and ecological compensation areas

  • Published source details Zellweger-Fischer J., Kéry M. & Pasinelli G. (2011) Population trends of brown hares in Switzerland: the role of land-use and ecological compensation areas. Biological Conservation, 144, 1364-1373

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant new or maintain existing hedgerows on farmland

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Provide or retain set-aside areas on farmland

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Plant new or maintain existing hedgerows on farmland

    A replicated, site comparison study, in 1992–2008, on 58 lowland arable and grassland sites in Switzerland (Zellweger-Fischer et al. 2011) found that maintenance of hedgerows (with adjacent herbaceous strips) on farmland was associated with higher brown hare Lepus europaeus density in arable sites but not in grassland sites. Relative effects of hedgerows and herbaceous strips could not be separated. Hare density along hedgerows and adjacent herbaceous strips was higher than in the landscape as a whole in predominantly arable sites but there was no difference in densities in predominantly grassland sites (data presented as statistical models). Fifty-eight sites (40 mostly arable, 18 mostly grassland), of 71–1,950 ha extent (total area approximately 400 km2) were studied. Forty-three sites included areas managed under agri-environment funding. This entailed maintaining hedgerows (unfertilized and unsprayed, with 6-m wide herbaceous strips), establishing set-aside areas and low-intensity management of meadows. Hedgerows and herbaceous strips covered 0.17% of arable sites and 0.13% of grassland sites. Vehicle-based spotlight surveys for hares were conducted twice in February–March. Ten sites were surveyed annually from 1992 to 2008 and 48 were, on average, surveyed biennially over that period.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

  2. Provide or retain set-aside areas on farmland

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1992–2008 on 58 lowland arable and grassland sites in Switzerland (Zellweger-Fischer et al. 2011) found that set-aside areas on farmland were not associated with higher brown hares Lepus europaeus densities. Set-aside areas were not associated with hare density in either predominantly arable or predominantly grassland areas (data presented as statistical models). Fifty-eight sites (40 mostly arable, 18 mostly grassland), of 71–1,950 ha extent (total area approximately 400 km2) were studied. Forty-three sites included areas managed under agri-environment funding. This entailed establishing set-aside areas (not mown or fertilized, usually sown with wildflower seeds and retained for 2–6 years), maintaining hedgerows (with adjacent herbaceous strips) and low intensity management of meadows. Set-aside covered 3.0% of arable sites and 4.6% of grassland sites. Vehicle-based spotlight surveys for hares were conducted twice in February–March. Ten sites were surveyed annually in 1992–2008 and 48 were, on average, surveyed biennially over that period.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

  3. Create uncultivated margins around intensive arable or pasture fields

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1992–2008 on 58 lowland arable and grassland sites in Switzerland (Zellweger-Fischer et al. 2011) found that establishing uncultivated field margins, in the form of herbaceous strips alongside hedgerows, was associated with higher brown hares Lepus europaeus density in arable sites but not in grassland sites. Relative effects of herbaceous strips and hedgerows could not be separated. Hares density along herbaceous strips and adjacent hedgerows was higher than in the landscape as a whole in predominantly arable sites but there was no difference in densities in predominantly grassland sites (data presented as statistical models). Fifty-eight sites (40 mostly arable, 18 mostly grassland), of 71–1,950 ha extent (total area approximately 400 km2) were studied. Forty-three sites included areas managed under agri-environment funding. This entailed establishing 6-m-wide unfertilised herbaceous strips, cut once/year, alongside hedgerows, establishing set-aside areas and low-intensity management of meadows. Herbaceous strips and hedgerows covered 0.17% of arable sites and 0.13% of grassland sites. Vehicle-based spotlight surveys for hares were conducted twice in February–March. Ten sites were surveyed annually from 1992 to 2008 and 48 were, on average, surveyed biennially over that period.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust