Carabid beetle community responses to integrated management practices in commercial crops in Fife, Scotland


Abstract: This study investigated the way in which carabid beetle abundance and species assemblages changed in response to crop type and habitat management. The aim was to better understand the effects of the implementation of agroecological management to support viable carabid populations. A split-field design was used to compare conventional commercial practice with an integrated practice, designed to support carabids. Pitfall traps were used to assess changes in carabid abundance and assemblage between fields. The results showed that carabid occurrence was most strongly determined by crop type and that the effectiveness of management practice varied according to crop type. Carabid response to both crop type and habitat management varied substantially according to carabid species. Key predatory species such as Nebria brevicollis showed a preference for cereal crops and oilseed rape and were more abundant in integrated than conventional split-fields. These findings demonstrate that the implementation of management measures, such as under-sowing and planting of field margins, can successfully increase carabid abundance in commercial crops and therefore the potential they have for enhancing natural pest control.

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