Manage rice field banks to benefit butterflies and moths
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
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Background information and definitions
Rice paddy fields are unusual among agricultural habitats as they normally have banks as field boundaries (rather than hedgerows, walls or ditches). The banks are often managed to reduce vegetation cover, either by spraying with herbicide or by mechanical cutting (Giuliano et al. 2018). However, reduced management may enable vegetation cover to develop and flower abundance to increase, which may benefit butterflies and moths.
Giuliano D., Cardarelli E. & Bogliani G. (2018) Grass management intensity affects butterfly and orthopteran diversity on rice field banks. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 267, 147–155.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, site comparison study in 2016 on three rice farms in Pavia province, Italy (Giuliano et al 2018) found that unmown, herbicide-free rice field banks had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than banks which were mown or sprayed with herbicide. On unmanaged banks, the abundance (1.2–12.2 individuals/100 m) and species richness (0.7–2.6 species/100 m) of butterflies was higher than on mown (abundance: 0.5–6.1 individuals/100 m; richness: 0.4–2.0 species/100 m) or sprayed banks (abundance: 0.1–2.3 individuals/100 m; richness: 0.1–1.1 species/100 m). Endangered large copper Lycaena dispar butterflies were present on more unmanaged banks (48 individuals) than on sprayed banks (10 individuals). See paper for other species results. Banks (1–2 m wide) between paddy fields on three farms were managed in one of three ways: sprayed with herbicide (Glyphosate) in April, mown 1–3 times between late April and August, or left unmanaged with permanent herbaceous cover. From April–September 2016, butterflies were surveyed monthly on 160–440-m-long transects on 30 field banks (13 sprayed, 13 mown, four unmanaged).Study and other actions tested
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This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Butterfly and Moth Conservation
Butterfly and Moth Conservation - Published 2022
Butterfly and Moth Synopsis