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Field-based grassland management for cirl buntings (Emberiza cirlus L.) and its effect on plant- and leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha)

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posted on 2023-07-26, 13:35 authored by Alvin J. Helden, Rodi Mckenzie, Gail Cobbold, Philip V. Grice, Guy Q. A. Anderson, Michael A. MacDonald
1.The cirl bunting (Emberiza cirlus L.) has been the subject of targeted and successful conservation efforts based on agri-environment schemes (AES) in the UK since 1993. Recent work has suggested that although focused on a single species, there have been wider biodiversity benefits for plants and some invertebrates. 2.In this study we investigated whether a similar pattern could be found for the Auchenorrhyncha (plant- and leafhoppers) within agricultural grasslands, where they form an important component of the herbivore community. 3.Sweep netting was used to sample Auchenorrhyncha from AES pastures, on which no pesticide or fertiliser inputs are allowed, and from conventionally grazed and cut (silage) fields at 25 locations in south Devon UK, during 2008. 4.Generalised linear mixed models and non-metric multidimensional scaling were used to model abundance, species density, and community structure. 5.AES fields had the highest abundance, followed by conventionally grazed and then cut fields. The same pattern occurred for species density, although there was no significant difference between conventionally grazed and cut fields. There was no difference in community structure between field types. 6.Number of plant species, sward age, and nitrogen input were important covariates of field type, suggesting that the limitations on inputs resulting from AES are the likely drivers of the observed differences. 7.The results add to the evidence base that suggests that increased agricultural intensity is inversely related to invertebrate biodiversity. They also provide evidence that AES designed for the cirl bunting have provided wider biodiversity benefits.



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Insect Conservation and Diversity






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ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)

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