Invertebrates Technical Factsheets from FWAG

Invertebrates of Bare Ground


Description

Whilst by its nature a transitory habitat, bare ground is an essential component of many species lifecycles. Bare ground can be found on eroded river and stream banks, stock trampled areas, eroded areas of paths and tracks, newly disturbed soil, etc. It tends to be particularly valuable if in a sunny south facing aspect and not too vigorously disturbed.

Fauna: e.g. green tiger beetle

A large (15mm) beetle, found in areas with bare sandy ground or very sparse vegetation such as sandy heath, moorland and quarry spoil heaps - always in sunny situations.

Green tiger beetle (Cicindela campestris)

Adults are active in early summer and will often take to the wing when disturbed. Both adults and larvae are predators of other invertebrates. The larvae form a burrow in the ground, often on or near paths and need, therefore, bare ground that is firm and not heavily trampled.

Importance

Many of the invertebrate species of bare ground perform vital tasks such as recycling dead material, predation of pest species (such as aphids) and pollination. They also have an important place in the food chain, supporting local populations of small mammals, birds, etc.

Beneficial management

  • Simple areas of bare soil are important habitats, not just waste or barren ground.
  • Limited trampling of stock around water edges can be highly beneficial except on stony riverbanks.
  • Bare soil is often associated with highly valued habitats such as lowland heath and dry/acidic grassland. Such areas require skilful stock management if they are to be conserved.
  • Make use of cultivated margin options under Agri-environment schemes to maintain habitat.

Photo gallery 

Click <here> to view photographs of some important invertebrates of bare ground.

Further information

For further information including possible grant aid contact your local FWAG Adviser and visit the FWAG website at www.fwag.org.uk.


Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in the information sheet. However, FWAG cannot accept liability for any errors or omission.
Photographs Roger Key, English Nature
Author: Roger Key, English Nature
38.1 Jan 2004

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