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Evaluating the importance of Agri-environment Scheme Buffer Strips to Widespread Amphibians and Reptiles - LM0440

Very little information exists about the use of agri-environment buffer strips by amphibians and reptiles. While their level of use by, and value to, most members of the native herpetofauna is likely to be extremely high, it is currently not possible to determine if buffer strips are playing a positive role in maintaining or enhancing the conservation status of any species. Consequently it is not known what benefits the inclusion of buffer strip options in agri-environment agreements have had, or could have, for species like the common toad and adder that are widespread in England but are known to be suffering severe declines.

This project will monitor and evaluate the importance of agri-environment scheme buffer strips to amphibians and reptiles in England, both as habitats in their own right and as movement corridors that potentially link populations and meta-populations. The focus will necessarily be on widespread species.
•Evaluate the current importance of agri-environment buffer strips to amphibians and reptiles by monitoring their use in relation to a wide range of aspects of buffer strips, such as width, age, habitat structure, aspect, location on farm, proximity to other habitat features such as ponds and hedgerows, management regimes, other options in place such as reduced chemical use in-field, geographic location (by National Character Area for example), habitat structure, etc. This evaluation should consider buffer strips as habitat themselves and as corridors if possible.

•Describe the most important features of buffer strips for amphibians and reptiles and suggest any improved recommendations for their appropriate design and location within the farmed landscape.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM0440 Evaluating the importance of AES buffer strips to widespread amphibians and reptiles FINAL REPORT   (3330k)
• ANX - Annex : LM0440 Report Appendices   (3865k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : LM0440 Buffer Strips Project 2 page Summary   (324k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2016

Cost: £123,988
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation