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Crop and field boundary influences on the activity of a wide range of beneficial invertebrate groups on a split conventional/organic farm in northern England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Michael Eyre, Professor Carlo Leifert


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Activity of 12 beneficial invertebrate groups was assessed in 2005 and 2006 on a farm in northern England split into conventional and organic management halves, using pitfall and pan traps set in both crops and field boundaries. Management, crop and boundary structure influences on invertebrate activity were assessed, as was the relationship between crop and boundary type. Classification of crop and boundary assemblages produced three and two groups, respectively, in both years. Organic arable crops had well-defined assemblages in both years; and, while grass and grass/clover fields were separated from conventional arable fields in 2005, there was mixing in 2006. One boundary group, in both years, was dominated by conventional arable fields with tall herbaceous boundary vegetation. The other group had more organic arable and grassy fields with shorter boundary vegetation. Redundancy analyses showed that a number of groups (Cantharidae, Coccinellidae, Syrphidae, Ichneumonidae, Braconidae, Proctotrupoidea, Lycosidae) were more active in organic arable fields with more Staphylinidae in conventional arable crops and no obvious trend with Carabidae, Hemiptera, Neuroptera and Linyphiidae. Activity of some groups, especially Coccinellidae, Syrphidae and parasitic wasps, was strongly related to weed cover. Staphylinidae were most active in tall herbaceous boundaries by conventional arable crops with more of a number of groups (Cantharidae, Coccinellidae, parasitic wasps) in short herbaceous boundaries by organic arable crops. Organic management produced most differences in aerially-dispersed invertebrates, and management had a profound effect on activity in field boundaries. Possible management prescriptions to increase invertebrate activity include changing sowing times, weed cover manipulation and field boundary and margin management.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Eyre MD, Leifert C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Bulletin of Entomological Research

Year: 2011

Volume: 101

Issue: 2

Pages: 135-144

Print publication date: 01/11/2010

ISSN (print): 0007-4853

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2670

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0007485310000398


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Funder referenceFunder name
CT-2003-506358European Union