Effects of seed mixture and management on beetle assemblages of arable field margins
Woodcock, B. A., Westbury, D. B., Tscheulin, T., Harrison-Cripps, J., Harris, S. J., Ramsey, A. J., Brown, V. K. and Potts, S. G. (2008) Effects of seed mixture and management on beetle assemblages of arable field margins. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 125 (1-4). pp. 246-254. ISSN 0167-8809
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2008.01.004
Beetle assemblages and their response to plant community composition and architectural structure were monitored from 2002 to 2006 within arable field margins. Field margins were sown with either tussock grass and forbs, fine grass and forbs or grass only seed mixtures. After an establishment year, field margins were managed using standard sward cuts, scarification, or graminicide application. For predatory beetles, overall density was greatest where tussock grasses were included within the seed mixtures, while the densities of phytophagous beetles were greatest where forbs were present. Unexpectedly, species rarefaction curves suggested that phytophagous beetle species richness was greatest where field margins were established using a grass only seed mixture. The structure of the beetle assemblages, i.e., the relative abundances of individual species, was largely dependent on seed mixture, although margin management also played an important role. The results suggest that field margins established using seed mixtures containing tussock grasses and forbs would be expected to provide the greatest resources for beetles, at least at local scales. However, the use of a single standardised seed mixture for margin establishment would result in a homogenisation of beetle assemblages at a regional scale. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.