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environmental management

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  • 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

  • The semiochemical experiment data were collected from novel laboratory, semi-field- and field-scale bioassay experiments taking behavioural observations and counts of pest insects and their natural enemies in the field. Crop yields were taken. Chemical analyses were also done using air entrainment. The study is part of the NERC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. Despite the widespread concerns regarding the use of pesticides in food production and the availability of potentially viable biological pest control strategies in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems, the UK cereal crop production remains a bastion of pesticide use. This project aimed to understand further the reasons for this lack of adoption, using the control of summer cereal aphids as a case study. Reasons for this lack of adoption of biocontrol remain a complex interplay of both technical and economic problems. Economists highlight the potential path dependency of an industry to continue to employ a suboptimal technology, caused by past dynamics of adoption resulting in differential private cost structures of each technique. Further, risk aversion on the part of farmers regarding the perceived efficacy of a new technology may also limit up-take. This may be particularly important when IPM rests on portfolios of technologies and when little scientific understanding exists on the effect of portfolio and scale of adoption on overall efficacy. Faced with this, farmers will not adopt a socially superior IPM technology and there exists a clear need for public policy action. This action may take the form of minimising uncertainty through carefully designed research programs, government funding and dissemination of the results of large-scale research studies or direct public support for farm landscape and farm system changes that can promote biocontrol. This research looked at alternatives to the use of insecticides in arable agriculture and the difficulties facing producers in switching over to them. Two approaches were explored: habitat manipulations, to encourage predators and parasites, and using naturally occurring odours to manipulate predator distribution as model technologies. Scale and portfolio effects on biocontrol efficacy have been investigated in controlled and field scale experiments. Aim is to improve the way research and development of new products and techniques are carried out to help break the dependence on chemical pesticides. Conservation biological control experiments data investigating the effect of wild field margins on pests and predators, from this same research project, are also available. In addition, socio-economic research has been used to help direct natural science research into the development and evaluation of a combination of habitat management and semiochemical push-pull strategies of appropriate scale and complementarity to yield viable, commercially attractive and sustainable alternatives to the use of insecticides in cereal crop agriculture. These socio-economic data are available through the UK Data Archive under study number 6960 (see online resources). Further information and documentation for this study may be found through the RELU Knowledge Portal and the project's ESRC funding award web page (see online resources).

  • This set of conservation biological control experiments data was collected as part of five field experiments investigating agricultural biological control techniques, particularly the effect of wild field margins on pests and predators. The study is part of the NERC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. Despite the widespread concerns regarding the use of pesticides in food production and the availability of potentially viable biological pest control strategies in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) systems, the UK cereal crop production remains a bastion of pesticide use. This project aimed to understand further the reasons for this lack of adoption, using the control of summer cereal aphids as a case study. Reasons for this lack of adoption of biocontrol remain a complex interplay of both technical and economic problems. Economists highlight the potential path dependency of an industry to continue to employ a suboptimal technology, caused by past dynamics of adoption resulting in differential private cost structures of each technique. Further, risk aversion on the part of farmers regarding the perceived efficacy of a new technology may also limit up-take. This may be particularly important when IPM rests on portfolios of technologies and when little scientific understanding exists on the effect of portfolio and scale of adoption on overall efficacy. Faced with this, farmers will not adopt a socially superior IPM technology and there exists a clear need for public policy action. This action may take the form of minimising uncertainty through carefully designed research programs, government funding and dissemination of the results of large-scale research studies or direct public support for farm landscape and farm system changes that can promote biocontrol. This research looked at alternatives to the use of insecticides in arable agriculture and the difficulties facing producers in switching over to them. Two approaches were explored: habitat manipulations, to encourage predators and parasites, and using naturally occurring odours to manipulate predator distribution as model technologies. Scale and portfolio effects on biocontrol efficacy have been investigated in controlled and field scale experiments. Aim is to improve the way research and development of new products and techniques are carried out to help break the dependence on chemical pesticides. 'Semiochemical experiment data, 2005-2009 - RELU Re-bugging the system: promoting adoption of alternative pest management strategies in field crop systems' from this same research project are also available. In addition, socio-economic research has been used to help direct natural science research into the development and evaluation of a combination of habitat management and semiochemical push-pull strategies of appropriate scale and complementarity to yield viable, commercially attractive and sustainable alternatives to the use of insecticides in cereal crop agriculture. These socio-economic data are available through the UK Data Archive under study number 6960 (see online resources). Further information and documentation for this study may be found through the RELU Knowledge Portal and the project's ESRC funding award web page (see online resources).

  • This dataset consists of an ecology-focused survey of stillwaters along the rivers Yure and Swale and sediment flux measurements recorded at sites along the river Esk. The dataset results from a study which was part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. The project analysed the complex network of natural and socio-economic relationships around angling in the river environment, including institutions of governance and land use practices at a range of interconnected scales. The sustainability, integrity and ecological value of river catchments are currently major issues for science. The management of freshwaters and their ecologies requires addressing processes that work across the boundaries between the natural environment, economy and society. This research focused upon these cross-cutting processes in an interdisciplinary, holistic assessment of river environments through the case of angling. Angling benefits from and influences river quality, design and management. It also links urban and rural environments and is an economic driver for the rural economy, involving about 4 million people in England and Wales and contributing 6 billion pounds to the economy through freshwater angling alone. This research aimed to provide insights into how environmental and socio-economic drivers for rural change work. This project therefore aimed to identify and analyse the complex network of influences and feedbacks around angling in the rural environment. These include natural and socio-economic influences, interdisciplinary research from both natural and social science disciplines (aquatic ecology, geomorphology, anthropology, sociology, human geography), as well as stakeholders from government, NGOs and the local community. This project focused upon three rivers in northern England - the Esk, Ure and Swale - in the course of an integrated and fine-grained study. The postal survey and business interviews from this study are available at the UK Data Archive under study number 6580 (see online resources). 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).