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Intercropping can support ecological intensification in organic agriculture

Himanen, Sari; Saarnia, Meri; Lehtinen, Heli; Mäkinen, Hanna and Savikko, Riitta (2017) Intercropping can support ecological intensification in organic agriculture. In: Aakkula, Jyrki; Hakala, Kaija; Huhta, Harri; Iivonen, Sari; Jurvanen, Ulla; Kreismane, Dzidra; Land, Anita; Lähdesmäki, Merja; Malingen, Matti; Mikkola, Minna; Nordlund-Othen, Janne; Nuutila, Jaakko; Peetsmann, Elen; Piskonen, Sirpa; Rasmussen, Ilse A.; Skulskis, Virgilijus; Tahvonen, Raija; Taskinen, Sirpa; Ullvén, Karin; Wibe, Atle and Wivstad, Maria (Eds.) NJF Seminar 495 - 4th organic Conference: Organics for tomorrow's food systems, 19 - 21 June 2017, Mikkeli, Finland, 13 (1), NJF Report, pp. 65-66.

[thumbnail of Himanen_NJF_Organic2017_final_NEW.docx] Microsoft Word - Accepted Version - English


Intercropping combines the temporal and spatial dimensions of crop diversification and offers a variety of ways to shape agroecosystem ecology and productivity. It has been most used with forage legumes for biological nitrogen fixation, but it might deliver also other, less known benefits such as buffering from weeds, pests and abiotic stresses, support for beneficial biota and greater yielding per acreage. Productivity gains are imperative for developing organic agriculture. We found that legumes added as intercrops had a positive impact on both a cereal and an oilseed co-crop yield under low fertilization, indicating that intercropping can support ecological intensification. Both additive and substitutive intercropping designs resulted in overyielding. Intercropping works well in line with the key principles of organic farming: utilizing and sustaining beneficial ecological interactions and biodiversity. It may support climate change adaptation as well (Himanen et al. 2016). In addition, it should be experimented more as a method to reduce reliance on external inputs and develop more sustainable conventional agriculture. Technological development and improved understanding on the mechanisms potentiating overyielding can help designing optimal intercropping using differential row, strip or mixed intercropping set-ups.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Diversification; Ecological intensification; Intercropping; Legumes; Overyielding
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop combinations and interactions
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: International Conferences > 2017: NJF Seminar 495 - Organics for tomorrow's food systems > 1. Tuning up sustainable organic production
Finland > Luke Natural Resources Institute
Deposited By: Himanen, Sari
ID Code:31434
Deposited On:19 Jun 2017 09:20
Last Modified:19 Jun 2017 09:20
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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