Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, CH-8046 Zurich

Improved field margins and the effects on voles and moles

In the regions where agriculture covers most of the landscape, species rich field margins have an important role in the preservation of biodiversity, plants and fauna. Considering this, the Swiss Confederation plans to introduce «field margins» as new type of ecological compensation area. It is a perennial and linear structure sown with a mixture of native forbs and grasses. It is 3 to 12 meters wide and is made to endure throughout the years without reseeding. To determine the effect of this new structure on vole and mole populations, we studied 36 agricultural fields with either an improved field margin or a conventional field margin or a wildflower strip on the edge. The results show that these three types of field edges are appreciated by voles, but the activity of those rodents inside the field stay low, whatever the edge type. Not a single mole has been observed during this study.

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