Study

A review of the impact of agricultural management on bats, their habitats and invertebrate prey in Europe

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Plant crops in spring rather than autumn

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

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

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Manage hedgerows to benefit wildlife (includes no spray, gap-filling and laying)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Plant crops in spring rather than autumn

    A 2003 literature review in Europe (Bat Conservation Trust 2003) found one study that reported that winter wheat supported higher numbers of invertebrates than spring wheat (Green 1984).

    Additional reference:

    Green R.E. (1984) The feeding ecology and survival of partridge chicks (Alectoris rufa and Perdix perdix) on arable farmland in East Anglia. Journal of Applied Ecology, 21, 817-830.

     

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

    A 2003 literature review in Europe (Bat Conservation Trust 2003) found one review and two studies that reported that invertebrates are affected by the frequency and timing of mowing in grassland. The one review suggested that cutting grassland twice a year was detrimental to hoverflies (Syrphidae), although responses for other families were mixed (Gerstmeir & Lang 1996). One study (Fuller et al. 2003) found that several cuts within grassland each year had a greater effect on beetles (Coleoptera) than one late cut. Another reported that responses of true bugs (Heteroptera) and plant/leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha) to mowing vary between species and timing of the cut (Morris 1981a,b).

    Additional references:

    Morris M. G. (1981a) Responses of grassland invertebrates to management by cutting. III. Adverse effects on Auchenorrhyncha. Journal of Applied Ecology, 18, 107-123.

    Morris M. G. (1981b) Responses of grassland invertebrates to management by cutting. IV. Positive responses of Auchenorrhyncha. Journal of Applied Ecology, 18, 763-771.

    Gerstmeir R. & Lang C. (1996). Beitrag zu Auswirkungen der Mahd auf Arthropoden [Effects of mowing on arthropods]. Zeitschrift fur Okologie un Naturschutz, 5, 1-14.

    Fuller R., Atkinson P.W., Asteraki E. J., Conway G. J., Goodyear J., Haysom K., Ings T., Smith R.E.N., Tallowin J. R. & Vickery J. A. (2003) Changes in lowland grassland management: effects on invertebrates and birds. Defra BD1435.

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

    A review of the literature on the impacts of agricultural management on bats, their habitats and invertebrate prey in Europe (Bat Conservation Trust 2003) found one study that reported complex impacts on invertebrates from management that affects hedgerow structure (see Maudsley, Marshall & West 2000).

     

  4. Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

    A 2003 literature review in Europe (Bat Conservation Trust 2003) found three studies that showed that unsprayed crop margins reduce the effects of spray drift on butterflies (Lepidoptera) (Longley et al. 1997, Longley & Sotherton 1997, de Snoo 1999). One study suggests that a 6 m buffer is not sufficient to eliminate spray drift (Longley & Sotherton 1997), whereas other research suggests that a 6 m buffer provides no more protection than a 3 m buffer (de Snoo 1999). One study reported that hoverflies (Syrphidae) were more abundant in unsprayed headlands (Cowgill et al. 1993).

    Additional references:

    Cowgill S.E., Wratten S.D. & Sotherton N.W. (1993) The effect of weeds on the numbers of hoverfly (Diptera: Syrphidae) adults and the distribution and composition of their eggs in winter wheat. Annals of Applied Biology, 123, 499-515.

    Longley M., Cilgi T., Jepson P.C. & Sotherton N.W. (1997) Measurements of pesticide spray drift deposition into field boundaries and hedgerows: 1. Summer applications. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 16, 165-172.

    Longley M. & Sotherton N.W. (1997) Measurements of pesticide spray drift deposition into field boundaries and hedgerows: 2. Autumn applications. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 16, 173-178.

Output references
What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

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