Study

Landscape-scale effects of land use intensity on birds and butterflies

  • Published source details Zingg S., Grenz J. & Humbert J. (2018) Landscape-scale effects of land use intensity on birds and butterflies. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 267, 119-128.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Increase crop diversity across a farm or farmed landscape

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Reduce field size (or maintain small fields)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Increase the proportion of natural or semi‐natural habitat in the farmed landscape

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes or conservation incentives)

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Increase crop diversity across a farm or farmed landscape

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2010–2014 in 91 agricultural areas in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Zingg et al. 2018) found that landscapes with a higher diversity of crops had a similar species richness of butterflies to landscapes with lower crop diversity. The species richness of butterflies was similar in agricultural areas with 7–12 different crops (11–33 species) and 1–6 crops (12–33 species). Ninety-one mixed farming areas (1 km2) were selected where 1–12 crop types were grown. Butterflies were surveyed seven times along a 2.5-km transect through each 1-km2 area in one of five years (2010–2014).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  2. Reduce field size (or maintain small fields)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2010–2014 in 50 agricultural areas in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Zingg et al. 2018) found that landscapes with smaller average field sizes had a higher abundance, but not species richness, of butterflies than landscapes with larger fields. Agricultural areas with average field sizes <1.5 ha had a higher abundance, but not species richness, of butterflies than areas with average field sizes >1.5 ha (data presented as model results). Fifty mixed farming areas (1 km2) were selected which had average field sizes from 0.55 to 2.70 ha. Butterflies were surveyed seven times along a 2.5-km transect through each 1-km2 area in one of five years (2010–2014).

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  3. Increase the proportion of natural or semi‐natural habitat in the farmed landscape

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2010–2014 in 50 agricultural areas in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Zingg et al. 2018) found that landscapes with a greater proportion of semi-natural habitat, provided through agri-environment schemes, had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than landscapes with less semi-natural habitat. Agricultural areas with more than 20% of the land managed as semi-natural habitat had a higher abundance and species richness of all butterflies than areas with less than 10% semi-natural habitat. The abundance of farmland butterflies, and the species richness of threatened butterflies, was higher in landscapes with more semi-natural habitat than in landscapes with less semi-natural habitat (all data presented as model results). Fifty mixed farming areas (1 km2) were selected where 2.5–32.2% of agricultural land was managed under agri-environment schemes (primarily extensive meadows (cut or grazed once/year, no fertilizers or pesticides) and orchards). Butterflies were surveyed seven times along a 2.5-km transect through each 1-km2 area in one of five years (2010–2014). Species were classified as “farmland species” if they occur in open habitat, and “threatened” species if they were listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Critically Endangered on the Swiss RedList.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  4. Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2010–2014 in 50 agricultural areas in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Zingg et al. 2018) found that landscapes with more semi-natural habitat managed without pesticide and fertilizer had more butterflies than landscapes with less semi-natural habitat managed without chemicals. Agricultural areas with more than 20% of the land managed as semi-natural habitat without chemicals had a higher abundance and species richness of all butterflies than areas with less than 10% semi-natural habitat with no chemicals. The abundance of farmland butterflies, and the species richness of threatened butterflies, was higher in landscapes with more chemical-free semi-natural habitat than in landscapes with less chemical-free semi-natural habitat (all data presented as model results). Fifty mixed farming areas (1 km2) were selected where 2.5–32.2% of agricultural land was managed under agri-environment schemes (primarily extensive meadows cut or grazed once/year with no fertilizers or pesticides). Butterflies were surveyed seven times along a 2.5-km transect through each 1-km2 area in one of five years (2010–2014). Species were classified as “farmland species” if they occur in open habitat, and “threatened” species if they were listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Critically Endangered on the Swiss RedList.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

  5. Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes or conservation incentives)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2010–2014 in 50 agricultural areas in the Swiss Plateau, Switzerland (Zingg et al. 2018) found that landscapes with a greater proportion of semi-natural habitat, provided through agri-environment schemes (AES), had a higher abundance and species richness of butterflies than landscapes with less semi-natural habitat. Agricultural areas with more than 20% of the land managed under AES had a higher abundance and species richness of all butterflies than areas with less than 10% AES. The abundance of farmland butterflies, and the species richness of threatened butterflies, was higher in landscapes with more AES than in landscapes with less AES (all data presented as model results). Fifty mixed farming areas (1 km2) were selected where 2.5–32.2% of agricultural land was managed under AES (primarily extensive meadows (cut or grazed once/year, no fertilizers or pesticides) and orchards). Butterflies were surveyed seven times along a 2.5-km transect through each 1-km2 area in one of five years (2010–2014). Species were classified as “farmland species” if they occur in open habitat, and “threatened” species if they were listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or Critically Endangered on the Swiss RedList.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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