The representation and functional composition of carabid and staphylinid beetles in different field boundary types at a farm-scale
At the farm-scale, hedgerow, degraded hedgerow and fence field boundary types were sampled for overwintering carabid and staphylinid beetles. Distinct beetle assemblages were evident and the structural and botanical characteristics of the boundary types were good explanatory factors of the differences. Each field boundary type supported unique species not found elsewhere; nine species were contributed by hedgerows alone and six species each from degraded hedgerows and fences. Using a systematic complementary site selection method we determined that all field boundary types were of equal importance for full representation of carabid and staphylinid species at the farm-scale. Additionally, fence habitats supported generalist predators of crop pests in greatest densities, whilst degraded hedgerows were most valuable in providing refuge to species vulnerable to disturbance and habitat fragmentation. Contrary to expectation, woodland species were not more evident in hedgerows than either degraded boundaries or fence habitat. This study provides empirical evidence that some components of biodiversity and sustainable farming are best maintained by retaining habitat heterogeneity, including features currently considered of limited conservation value. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Author(s): Griffiths, GJK; Winder, L; Holland, JM; Thomas, CFG; Williams, E
Journal: Biological Conservation