Field margins for biocontrol and biodiversity across crop rotations: Overview of the aims and approaches of Defra project IF01122


Abstract: Managed field margins that deliver multiple services and take account of agronomic practicality in their management are essential for the delivery of environmental benefits through agri-environment schemes. Whilst the primary driver in field margin design has been to provide resources for birds and pollinators, recent projects have demonstrated the value of field margins containing winter bird seed cover and floristically enhanced grassland in supporting a high abundance and diversity of natural enemies of crop pests and increased natural pest suppression on farms with these margins. The aim of the project described here is to improve existing biennial and perennial field margins by (i) evaluating how the season over which resources are available for natural enemies of pests can be extended, (ii) developing techniques to ensure natural enemies move from margins and into the crop and (iii) further understanding the influence of habitat manipulation on interactions between natural enemies of pests.

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