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Ecological restoration on farmland can drive beneficial functional responses in plant and invertebrate communities

Pywell, Richard F.; Meek, William R.; Loxton, R.G.; Nowakowski, Marek; Carvell, Claire; Woodcock, Ben A.. 2011 Ecological restoration on farmland can drive beneficial functional responses in plant and invertebrate communities. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 140 (1-2). 62-67. 10.1016/j.agee.2010.11.012

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Abstract/Summary

This study contrasted the effects of the most widely implemented, low cost restoration prescriptions promoted by the English AES with more demanding and costly options on plant and invertebrate community composition, and their functional traits. In all cases these prescriptions were compared to intensive crop management. The plant community regenerating from the seed bank was species-poor, highly dynamic and had a high proportion of undesirable crop weeds. Sowing a low-cost, simple mix of tall grasses resulted in a stable community dominated by competitive grasses. Creation of these habitats resulted in negligible shifts in the functional composition of the associated invertebrate community. Sowing a diverse mix of wildflowers resulted in a stable, perennial vegetation community with both legumes and regulating hemi-parasitic plants that supported significantly more pollinator and herbivore species, as well as higher abundances of beneficial arthropod predators. There were no measured synergies when a mix of tall grass and wildflower habitats were created adjacent to each other on the same margin. The results confirm the value of ecological restoration as a potentially useful means of enhancing ecosystem function within intensive farmland systems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.agee.2010.11.012
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment
CEH Sections: Pywell
ISSN: 0167-8809
Additional Keywords: agri-environment schemes, beneficial arthropods, ecosystem services, field margin strips, pollinators, seed addition, sustainable agriculture
Date made live: 15 Mar 2011 12:11
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/13422

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