The response of foraging bumblebees to successional change in newly created arable field margins

Carvell, C.; Meek, W. R.; Pywell, R. F.; Nowakowski, M.. 2004 The response of foraging bumblebees to successional change in newly created arable field margins. Biological Conservation, 118 (3). 327-339.

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Agricultural intensification is likely to have been a major factor leading to serious declines in bumblebee abundance and diversity in the UK and elsewhere over recent decades. Opportunities to restore habitat for bumblebees on uncropped arable field margins are now available, although the methods by which this restoration can be achieved have not been fully investigated. We present the results of a three year study undertaken to investigate the response of foraging bumblebees to five different arable field margin treatments (sown and unsown), as part of a replicated field experiment on arable farmland in northern England (UK). Bumblebee abundance was closely linked to successional changes in availability of suitable forage plant species. Field margin treatments sown with a ‘grass and wildflower' mixture had the highest bumblebee abundance, and provided a consistent supply of forage species, with different components of the seed mixture flowering in each year. The unsown natural regeneration treatment attracted foraging bumblebees in only the second year due to the local abundance of thistles, so we consider this option to be both inconsistent in terms of forage provision and agronomically unacceptable. Our results are discussed in terms of developing suitable measures to achieve the restoration of habitats for bumblebees on arable farmland.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Ecological Processes & Modelling
ISSN: 0006-3207
Additional Keywords: Bumblebees; Field margin; Foraging; Wildflower mixture; Succession
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 04 Jun 2009 14:25 +0 (UTC)

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