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This dataset contains counts of pollinators visiting different varieties of oilseed rape (OSR). Data were collected from four trial sites in the UK in May 2012. The trial sites comprised of 20 varieties (plots) replicated in three blocks on each farm but only 2 of the blocks at each site were used for pollinator observations. Pollinator observations were also only made where there were greater than 30 percent of OSR plants in flower in the plot and only when weather conditions were within standardised limits. For each plot per site a six minute observation period was made during which the number of pollinators within the following taxon groups were counted: bumblebees to the species level, solitary bees identified to general body forms (Lasiglossum to genus level; Osmia separated to bicolour and rufa; Andrena separated to body forms typical of dorsata, carantonica, nigroaenea, haemorrhoa, fulva, flavipies, nitida, cineraria, bicolour and minuta), large hoverflies (> 12 mm), small hoverflies (< 11 mm), and Bibionidae. Each variety was observed for two separate six minute periods to reduce the impacts of minor fluctuations in weather that may reduce pollinator observations within single six minute periods. The dataset was collected as part of a project which aimed to identify key pollinators for OSR and identify if there are feeding preferences for individual varieties. Full details about this dataset can be found at https://doi.org/10.5285/d7b25308-3ec7-4cff-8eed-fe20b815f964
Flora and fauna data from agricultural land under differing crop and management regimes, 2006-2010 - RELU Effects of scale in organic agriculture
This dataset consists of ecology data from 16 paired field sites; each pair consisting of an organic and conventional farm. A multiscale sampling design was employed to assess the impact of (i) location-within-field (field margin vs. edge vs. centre), (ii) crop type (arable cereal vs. permanent pasture), (iii) farm management (organic vs. conventional) and (iv) landscape-scale management (landscapes that contained low or high fractions of organic land) on a wide range of taxa. Studied taxa include birds, insect pollinators (hoverflies, bumblebees and solitary bees), epigeal arthropods, aphids and their natural enemies, earthworms and plants. The study is part of the NERC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. A move to organic farming can have significant effects on wildlife, soil and water quality, as well as changing the ways in which food is supplied, the economics of farm business and indeed the attitudes of farmers themselves. Two key questions were addressed in the SCALE project: what causes organic farms to be arranged in clusters at local, regional and national scales, rather than be spread more evenly throughout the landscape; and how do the ecological, hydrological, socio-economic and cultural impacts of organic farming vary due to neighbourhood effects at a variety of scales. The research was undertaken in 2006-2007 in two study sites: one in the English Midlands, and one in southern England. Both are sites in which organic farming has a 'strong' local presence, which we defined as 10 per cent or more organically managed land within a 10 km radius. Potential organic farms were identified through membership lists of organic farmers provided by two certification bodies (the Soil Association and the Organic Farmers and Growers). Most who were currently farming (i.e. their listing was not out of date) agreed to participate. Conventional farms were identified through telephone listings. Respondents' farms ranged in size from 40 to 3000 acres, with the majority farming between 100 and 1000 acres. Most were mixed crop-livestock farmers, with dairy most common in the southern site, and beef and/or sheep mixed with arable in the Midlands. In total, 48 farms were studied, of which 21 were organic farmers. No respondent had converted from organic to conventional production, whereas 17 had converted from conventional to organic farming. Twelve of the conventional farmers defined themselves as practicing low input agriculture. Farmer interview data from this study are available at the UK Data Archive under study number 6761. Soil data from agricultural land under differing crop and management regimes,are also available. Further documentation for this study may be found through the RELU Knowledge Portal and the project's ESRC funding award web page (see online resources).
Biodiversity, environmental and social data 2007-2008 for the project Improving the Success of Agri-environment Schemes (FarmCAT)
This dataset consists of butterfly and bumblebee counts, winter bird counts, number of flowering units, and seed mass data, along with categories of soil type and quality, and temperature data. Data were collected from arable farms under the English Entry Level agri-environment Scheme (ELS) for two options: Nectar Flower Mixture option (NFM) and Wild Bird Seed Mixture (WBM). Surveys were carried out in 2007 and repeated in 2008. All data were collected using standardised protocols: butterfly and bumblebee counts were collected from transects in the NFM options during summer; flowering units were counted within quadrats along the same transects in summer; bird counts were made in winter within the whole WBM areas; seed resource was calculated for the WBM areas from seeds collected in quadrats along transects. The dataset also contains results from farmer interviews. The interviews were designed to explore farmer attitudes towards, and history of, environmental management and their perceptions and understanding of the management requirements. Three measures of farmer attitude were then calculcated from their responses: experience (4-point scale), concerns (5-point scale) and motivation (3-point scale). All data were collected as part of the FarmCAT project, the principal aim of which was to develop a holistic understanding of the social and ecological factors which lead to the successful delivery of agri-environmental schemes. This project was funded as part of the ESRC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. Full details about this dataset can be found at https://doi.org/10.5285/d774f98f-030d-45bb-8042-7729573a13b2