Ecological field data for a variety of biodiversity indicators were collected from commercial fields of both crops. The study is part of the NERC Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. Future policies are likely to encourage more land use under energy crops: principally willow, grown as short rotation coppice, and a tall exotic grass Miscanthus. These crops will contribute to the UK's commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. However, it is not clear how decisions about appropriate areas for growing the crops, based on climate, soil and water, should be balanced against impacts on the landscape, social acceptance, biodiversity and the rural economy. This project integrated social, economic, hydrological and biodiversity studies in an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the impact of converting land to Miscanthus grass and short-rotation coppice (SRC) willows. Two contrasting farming systems were focused on: the arable-dominated East Midlands; and grassland-dominated South West England. Ecological field data for a variety of biodiversity indicators were collected from commercial fields of both crops. The public attidues questionnaire data from this study are available at the UK Data Archive under study number 6615 (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).
Publication date: 2010-12-01
Research funded by Economic and Social Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Award Number: RES-227-25-0020 Biodiversity data consists of plant and invertebrate species/taxonomic group count data from 15 fields of SRC willows and 17 fields of Miscanthus. Indicators were sampled from positions around the edges of the crops and at various distances into the crop itself. Plant indicators were recorded as counts in quadrats, whereas invertebrate indicators were sampled using transect, suction-sampler or sticky trap, as appropriate for each indicator group. The ESRC award page (see online resources) hosts a publication (Haughton et al. 2009) which describes the collection of the biodiversity data set in more detail.