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Monitoring ground dwelling species

We are using pitfall traps to monitor ground dwelling species and activity in and between the fields currently being prepared for planting. This summary shows our analysis of initial baseline levels.

Pitfall traps are showing very low catches. The traps are placed 6 metres from the edge of the field boundary then a further 6m into the field. This will show influence of the existing hedges and some field influence. Each Trap consists of 4 individual traps with numbers combined. I have put together a couple of graphs below

The influence of the field boundary – hedge etc across all traps shows that life is coming from hedges into the field, rather than being in field already.

Of the total catch of 71 animals 24% of those consisted of wolf spiders – these are very mobile and obviously therefore have a greater chance of being caught. Spiders are particularly sensitive to modern agrochemicals – a female spider can absorb 75% of a fatal dose of a permethrin based insecticide simply by walking across the soil surface. However ground beetle of family Hapidinae amounted to 35% which is encouraging and bembidion spp were 12.6%. Species diversity was consequently low amounting to some 10 species.

On a field scale the diversity of species showed fields such as Norwich Close had higher levels of single species, in this case wolf spiders which are more a result of the field boundary in this case rather than soil condition and this can be compared with total catch per field below.

Catches varied between fields differed. None can be considered very good.

Base line must be considered poor and the increased cultivation will only add to the impoverished state of the soils. We will be looking to increase both total numbers and species diversity as well throughout the project.



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