Study

Effects of agri-environment schemes in a long-term ecological time series

  • Published source details Taylor M.E. & Morecroft M.D. (2009) Effects of agri-environment schemes in a long-term ecological time series. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 130, 9-15.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Convert to organic farming

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Restore arable land to permanent grassland

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once)

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

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

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Convert to organic farming

    A before-and-after study in 1994–2006 on a mixed farm in Oxfordshire, UK (Taylor & Morecroft 2009) found that following adoption of the Environmentally Sensitive Areas scheme, including stopping the application of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, the abundance and species richness of large moths and some species of butterfly increased. After Environmentally Sensitive Area management began, the total abundance (1,000–1,450 individuals) and species richness of large moth species was higher than before (800–1,250 individuals, richness data not presented). One of the five most abundant moth species (lunar underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa) and five of 23 butterfly species (meadow brown Maniola jurtina, brown argus Aricia agestis, common blue Polyommatus icarus, small copper Lycaena phlaeas and red admiral Vanessa atalanta) increased in abundance after the change in management. However, two butterfly species became less abundant (green-veined white Pieris napi and large white Pieris brassicae, data presented as model results). Overall butterfly abundance and species richness increased over the entire monitoring period, but the increase did not just happen after the management change. In 2002, the farm entered the Environmentally Sensitive Areas agri-environment scheme, and fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were no longer used. Additionally, the proportion of grassland increased, and the total number of livestock dropped from 180 cows and 1,000 sheep to 120 cows and 850 sheep. Butterflies were monitored weekly from April–September on a fixed 3.6 km transect divided into 13 sections. Moths were monitored nightly from dusk to dawn using a light trap in a fixed position in the middle of the farm.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland synopsis)

  2. Restore arable land to permanent grassland

    A before-and-after study in 1994–2006 on a farm in Oxfordshire, UK (Taylor & Morecroft 2009) found that following adoption of the Environmentally Sensitive Areas scheme, including reverting arable land to permanent grassland, the abundance and species richness of large moths and some species of butterfly increased. After Environmentally Sensitive Area management began, the total abundance (1,000–1,450 individuals) and species richness of large moth species was higher than before (800–1,250 individuals, richness data not presented). One of the five most abundant moth species (lunar underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa) and five of 23 butterfly species (meadow brown Maniola jurtina, brown argus Aricia agestis, common blue Polyommatus icarus, small copper Lycaena phlaeas and red admiral Vanessa atalanta) increased in abundance after the change in management. However, two butterfly species became less abundant (green-veined white Pieris napi and large white Pieris brassicae, data presented as model results). Overall butterfly abundance and species richness increased over the entire monitoring period, but the increase did not just happen after the management change. In 2002, the farm entered the Environmentally Sensitive Areas agri-environment scheme, and 102 ha of arable land was reverted to extensive grassland. In addition, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were no longer used, and the total number of livestock dropped from 180 cows and 1,000 sheep to 120 cows and 850 sheep. Butterflies were monitored weekly from April–September on a fixed 3.6 km transect divided into 13 sections. Moths were monitored nightly from dusk to dawn using a light trap in a fixed position in the middle of the farm.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland synopsis)

  3. Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once)

    A before-and-after study in 1994–2006 on a farm in Oxfordshire, UK (Taylor & Morecroft 2009) found that following adoption of the Environmentally Sensitive Areas scheme, including reducing grazing intensity and stopping the application of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, the abundance and species richness of large moths and some species of butterfly increased. After Environmentally Sensitive Area management began, the total abundance (1,000–1,450 individuals) and species richness of large moth species was higher than before (800–1,250 individuals, richness data not presented). One of the five most abundant moth species (lunar underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa) and five of 23 butterfly species (meadow brown Maniola jurtina, brown argus Aricia agestis, common blue Polyommatus icarus, small copper Lycaena phlaeas and red admiral Vanessa atalanta) increased in abundance after the change in management. However, two butterfly species became less abundant (green-veined white Pieris napi and large white Pieris brassicae, data presented as model results). Overall butterfly abundance and species richness increased over the entire monitoring period, but the increase did not just happen after the management change. In 2002, the farm entered the Environmentally Sensitive Areas agri-environment scheme. Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were no longer used, the total number of livestock dropped from 180 cows and 1,000 sheep to 120 cows and 850 sheep, and the proportion of grassland increased. Butterflies were monitored weekly from April–September on a fixed 3.6 km transect divided into 13 sections. Moths were monitored nightly from dusk to dawn using a light trap in a fixed position in the middle of the farm.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland Synopsis)

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

    A before-and-after study in 1994–2006 on a farm in Oxfordshire, UK (Taylor & Morecroft 2009) found that following adoption of the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scheme, the abundance and species richness of large moths and some species of butterfly increased. After ESA management began, the total abundance (1,000–1,450 individuals) and species richness of large moth species was higher than before (800–1,250 individuals, richness data not presented). One of the five most abundant moth species (lunar underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa) and five of 23 butterfly species (meadow brown Maniola jurtina, brown argus Aricia agestis, common blue Polyommatus icarus, small copper Lycaena phlaeas and red admiral Vanessa atalanta) increased in abundance after the change in management. However, two butterfly species became less abundant (green-veined white Pieris napi and large white Pieris brassicae, data presented as model results). Overall butterfly abundance and species richness increased over the entire monitoring period, but the increase did not just happen after the management change. In 2002, the farm entered the ESA agri-environment scheme. The proportion of grassland increased, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were no longer used, and the total number of livestock dropped from 180 cows and 1,000 sheep to 120 cows and 850 sheep. Butterflies were monitored weekly from April–September on a fixed 3.6 km transect divided into 13 sections. Moths were monitored nightly from dusk to dawn using a light trap in a fixed position in the middle of the farm.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon, edited from Farmland synopsis)

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

    A before-and-after study on one farm in Oxfordshire, UK (Taylor & Morecroft 2009) found that following a change to management under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas scheme (also leading to organic certification), the numbers of large moths (Lepidoptera), some species of butterfly and ground beetle (Carabidae), and the number of plant species, including butterfly larval food plant species, increased. The butterfly species that increased after Environmentally Sensitive Area management included the brown argus Aricia agestis, the common blue Polyommatus icarus and the small copper Lycaena phlaeas. Overall butterfly and ground beetle numbers, and numbers of pipistrelle bats Pipistrellus pipistrellus and P. pygmaeus and Daubenton’s bats Myotis daubentonii also increased over the entire time period, but the increase did not happen after management change. Butterflies, plants, ground beetles and bats were regularly monitored on the farm from 1994 to 2006 inclusive. In 2002, the farm entered the Environmentally Sensitive Areas agri-environment scheme. The proportion of grassland increased, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides were no longer used, and the total number of livestock dropped from 180 cows and 1000 sheep to 120 cows and 850 sheep. The land was certified organic in 2005.

     

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