Changes in the cereal ecosystem on the South Downs of southern England, over the past 45 years
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) Sussex Study is one of the longest-running cereal ecosystem monitoring programmes in the world. Since 1970, information has been collected annually on grey partridge numbers, the occurrence of arable flora and invertebrate abundance in cereal crops. In 2003, one landowner instigated a change in management on 10 km2 of the study area directed at reversing declines in grey partridge density and creating a wild grey partridge shoot. Here we examine the effect of these changes on the occurrence of arable flora and abundance of invertebrates, concentrating on taxa that contribute to the diet of farmland birds. Arable flora have responded to the management, with 32 taxa of the 34 examined now more common on the managed area; the situation for invertebrates is less clear.