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The effect of field boundary type on the community structure, spatial distribution and physiological condition of overwintering arthropods, with special reference to Carabidae and Staphylinidae (Coleoptera).

Abstract

The potential of different field boundary types in lowland farmland to contribute to arthropod biodiversity and sustainable agriculture was investigated. Field boundaries, categorised according to nationally applicable definitions, were found to represent ecologically differing habitats based on their woody abundance and the frequency of young and mature emergent trees. These habitat characteristics were determining factors in the community structure and composition of overwintering epigeal arthropods. Hedgerows supported the most species rich carabid and staphylinid assemblage. Degraded hedgerow boundaries supported the most equitable carabid community, and provided a refuge for carabid species with poor dispersal power to a greater extent that hedgerows or post and wire fences. The grassy and natural regeneration vegetation associated with post and wire boundaries supported high densities of all taxa particularly overwintering carabid and staphylinid polyphagous predators. A subset of all field boundary types was required for complete species representation, indicating that maximising the heterogeneity of field boundary habitats represented at the farm-scale will enhance arthropod biodiversity in farmland.

Author(s): Griffiths, GJK

Year: 2003

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