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Creation and Management of Pollen and Nectar Habitats on Farmland: Annual report 2006/7

Pywell, Richard; Nowakowski, Marek. 2007 Creation and Management of Pollen and Nectar Habitats on Farmland: Annual report 2006/7. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, 25pp. (UNSPECIFIED)

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Abstract/Summary

1. Intensive farming has contributed to the serious declines in the abundance and diversity of bumblebee and butterflies. 2. UK agri-environmental policy aims to conserve and restore bee and butterfly populations by providing foraging habitats on land taken out of production. 3. Recent research suggests that current management prescriptions are failing to provide pollen and nectar habitats of sufficient quality and longevity in the wider countryside. 4. We report the preliminary findings of a range of integrated experiments to determine the best means of creating and managing pollen and nectar habitats on arable farmland. 5. Experiment 1: examined the flowering performance and persistence of a range of Red clover varieties managed under different cutting regimes. 6. Over three years the agricultural variety of Red clover Milvus and the wild variety from Somerset were the most persistent. Cutting in June and October significantly enhanced flower abundance. Removal of cut material significantly increased the cover and flower abundance of sown broad-leaved species. 7. Experiment 2: investigated the performance of pollen- and nectar-rich broad-leaved species sown with grasses of differing competitive ability. 8. Sowing tall and competitive grass species, such as Meadow Fescue, Timothy and Rye grass, significantly reduced the cover legume species. Persistence of sown legumes was significantly better in mixtures sown either without grasses, or with fine-leaved grasses, such as Crested Dogstail. 9. Experiment 3: compared the foraging preference of bumblebees and butterflies for a range of annual crop species sown in wild bird seed mixes with perennials sown in pollen and nectar seed mixtures. 10. Flowers of annual species were much more abundant than those of perennials in the first year. Short-tongued bees showed a marked preference for Phacelia and Borage. Long-tongued bees showed a significant preference for Crimson clover. Immobile butterfly species showed a preference for the Lucerne. Mobile butterfly did not show a preference for any species.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > SE01A Sustainable Monitoring and Management of Land Resources
CEH Sections: Pywell
Funders/Sponsors: Syngenta Crop Protection AG
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 20 Jul 2009 14:33
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6442

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