The effects of conservation management of reed beds. I. The invertebrates.
A replicated experiment was conducted in 1988-89 in a stand of reeds (Phragmites australis) which were cut, burnt or left unmanaged on the Hundred Acre March in NE Norfolk, UK. Invertebrates in the soil were sampled by heat extraction and hand-sorting, and those above ground by water traps, dissection of reed stems and in situ counting. Only a few families showed differences between treatments, and this number declined with time after treatment. After 1 year, no soil invertebrates and only a few families of above-ground invertebrates showed any significant treatment effects. The greatest differences observed were between the unmanaged control and both cut and burnt plots. A significant difference between cut and burnt treatments was recorded for only 1 family, with invertebrate numbers lower in the former. The total number of invertebrates, and species richness, diversity and evenness showed no relationship with treatment. Many soil invertebrates were more abundant in drier parts of the reed bed, but this was not observed with above-ground invertebrates.