Establishing field margins to promote beetle conservation in arable farms
Woodcock, B. A., Westbury, D. B., Potts, S. G., Harris, S. J. and Brown, V. K. (2005) Establishing field margins to promote beetle conservation in arable farms. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 107 (2-3). pp. 255-266. ISSN 0167-8809
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2004.10.029
This study investigates the function of non-cropped field margins in arable farming systems for enhancing the biodiversity value of beetle communities. Three different sown seed mixtures were used to establish field margins, a Countryside Stewardship mix, a fine grass and forbs mix and a tussock grass and forbs mix. The structure of beetle communities in the first full year of establishment was found to show no difference between the tussock grass and Countryside Stewardship margins. However, both differed from the fine grass margins, which supported lower overall abundance and species richness of beetles. This was attributed to small-scale architectural differences between species of fine and tussock grasses, rather than differences in plant composition. Body size distributions of beetles showed distinct similarities between the Countryside Stewardship and tussock margins. A greater abundance of large beetles was found in fine grass margins, although in all cases these body size distributions were attributed to a small number of species or a taxonomically distinct group. All three margin types included beetle species of conservation value. The importance of these results was discussed in the context of the value of these seed mixtures for invertebrate conversation. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.