Study

Moth communities and agri-environment schemes: Examining the effects of hedgerow cutting regime on diversity, abundance, and parasitism

  • Published source details Facey S.L., Botham M.S., Heard M.S., Pywell R.F. & Staley J.T. (2014) Moth communities and agri-environment schemes: Examining the effects of hedgerow cutting regime on diversity, abundance, and parasitism. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 7, 543-552.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (e.g. no spray, gap-filling and laying)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (e.g. no spray, gap-filling and laying)

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2005–2011 in a field in Cambridgeshire, UK (Facey et al. 2014) found that hedges cut in winter, or less frequently in autumn, had more concealed moth caterpillars than hedges cut annually in autumn, but cutting did not affect the number of free-living caterpillars or total species richness. The abundance of concealed caterpillars on hedges cut in winter (8.5–9.9 individuals/plot), or every three years in autumn (10.5 individuals/plot) was higher than on hedges cut annually in autumn (7.5 individuals/plot). The abundance of free-living caterpillars did not vary with the timing or frequency of cutting (data not presented). The total number of moth species on hedges cut in winter (3.8 species/plot) was similar to hedges cut in autumn (3.0 species/plot), and was similar between different cutting frequencies (data not presented). In 2005, three hedgerows were divided into 32 contiguous, 15-m-long plots, and randomly assigned to two treatments: cut every one, two or three years, and cut in September or January/February. Annually cut treatments were replicated eight times, and other treatments were replicated four times. From May–July 2011, caterpillars were sampled monthly in two ways. All caterpillars and mined leaves within a 1 × 0.5 m square (placed 1.5 m high, 5- and 10-m along each plot) were collected for three minutes. A 2-m section of guttering was placed through the hedge (0.8 m high, two locations/plot), and the vegetation above struck three times with a pole. Caterpillars were reared in the lab for identification, and empty leaf mines and cases were identified. Species were classified as “free-living” caterpillars which feed on the outside of leaves, and “concealed” species which mine leaves or form protective cases from them.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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