Universiteit Leiden

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Invertebrate response to management of roadside edges

Does roadside management in the mid-west USA increase invertebrate diversity similar to practices in Europe?

2012 - 2016


Short abstract

What sort of roadside management increases invertebrate diversity?

Project description

Biodiversity is declining around the globe.  Agricultural intensification is contributing to the decline. Research is necessary to improve biodiversity in agricultural areas.

We conducted a pilot study in rural Sangamon County, Illinois USA to compare the influence of roadside management regime on biodiversity along a roadside with neighboring fields planted in no-till agriculture or Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Three mowing regimes were applied to a roadside. Two of the management regimes are common in Illinois: mowing twice a year and regular mowing throughout the growing season, both leaving the clippings where they fall. The third regime was regular mowing and removing the clippings.

Our study showed invertebrate richness was greatest in roadsides with regular mowing and clippings removed. When invertebrates were grouped as predators, parasites and parasitoids, omnivores, herbivores, flower visitors and detritivores, taxonomic richness remained highest in the area mowed with clippings removed, but abundance varied according to life history requirements of the invertebrates. Taxonomic diversity index was not different between treatments.

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