Study

Creation of 'island' habitats in farmland to manipulate populations of beneficial arthropods: predator densities and species composition

  • Published source details Thomas M.B., Wratten S.D. & Sotherton N.W. (1992) Creation of 'island' habitats in farmland to manipulate populations of beneficial arthropods: predator densities and species composition. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 524-531.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create beetle banks

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create beetle banks

Action Link
Natural Pest Control
  1. Create beetle banks

    A replicated, randomized and controlled study in the three winters from 1987-1990 on two farms in Hampshire, UK (Thomas et al. 1992) (part of the same study as (Thomas et al. 1991) but extended with a third winter and a third beetle bank in a 51 ha field, also on chalky-flint soil, on a second farm) found that three years after beetle bank establishment, total predator densities and both ground beetle (Carabidae) and spider (Araneae) community compositions were not different to those in natural field boundaries. The tussock-forming grass, cock’s-foot Dactylis glomerata supported highest densities of ground beetles on all three beetle banks in the third winter. Community composition of both ground beetles and spiders changed significantly throughout the study in favour of species that prefer boundary or more permanent habitats. See (Thomas et al. 1991) for methods of beetle bank creation, experimental design and methods of predator sampling. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as (Thomas 1991, Thomas et al. 1991, MacLeod 1994, MacLeod et al. 2004).

     

  2. Create beetle banks

    A randomised, replicated, controlled study over three winters from 1987-1990 on two farms in Hampshire, UK (Thomas et al. 1992) (part of the same study as Thomas et al. 1991 but extended to a third winter and a third beetle bank in a 51 ha field on a second farm) found that three years after beetle bank establishment, total predator densities on beetle banks (358-764 individuals/m²) were not different to those in natural field boundaries (541-569 individuals/m²). Ground beetle and spider community composition was similar between beetle banks and field boundaries. Cock’s-foot Dactylis glomerata, a tussock-forming grass, supported highest densities of ground beetles in the third winter. Community composition of ground beetles and spiders changed during the study to species that prefer boundary or more permanent habitats. Banks were 0.4 m high x 1.5 m wide. Two were 290 m long in 7 and 20 ha fields, one was 580 m long in a 51 ha field. One field was sown with winter wheat Triticum spp. throughout the study, one field had winter wheat then fodder pea Pisum sativum and winter rape Brassica napus, and one field had spring barley Hordeum vulgare then vining peas. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as Thomas 1991, Thomas et al. 1991, MacLeod 1994 and MacLeod et al. 2004.

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