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Design, implementation and management of perennial flower strips to promote functional agrobiodiversity in organic apple orchards: A pan-European study

Pfiffner, Lukas; Cahenzli, Fabian; Steinemann, Beatrice; Jamar, Laurent; Chor Bjørn, Mona; Porcel, Mario; Tasin, Marco; Telfser, Josef; Kelderer, Markus and Sigsgaard, Lene (2019) Design, implementation and management of perennial flower strips to promote functional agrobiodiversity in organic apple orchards: A pan-European study. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 278, pp. 61-71.

[thumbnail of Pfiffner_etal_2019_AGEE_FAB_EcoOrchards_plants.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880919300556


Orchards, as intensive cropping systems, often have low diversity of plant species, which limits the promotion of natural enemies for pest control. The implementation of agri-environmental schemes, such as flower strips, could enhance biological control. We developed perennial, multifunctional flower strips with native plant species. In the second and third year after sowing, plant diversity and ground cover between flower strips (FS) in the drive alleys and the spontaneous orchard vegetation in control plots (Cont) were compared in 19 experimental blocks of eight organic apple orchards in six European countries. On average 73.7% of the sown plant species were established and plant diversity of FS was on average 43% higher than in Cont. Multivariate analysis further revealed significant dissimilarities in the plant communities of the two treatments. Intensive mulching of flower strips also affected the plant community: species richness and ground cover by forbs and plants, which especially promote functional agrobiodiversity (FAB plants), decreased significantly. We show that perennial FS with native plants are a valuable approach to enrich plant diversity in orchards in different European countries. Limitations and recommendations for the implementation and management of FS in orchards are discussed.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Diversified orchard, Ecological infrastructure, Habitat manipulation, Plant diversity, Sustainable apple production, functional agrobiodiversity, CoreOrganicPlus, ECOORCHARD, EcoOrchard, FiBL20031
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Fruit and berries
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Research affiliation: Belgium > Centre Wallon de Recherche Agronomique (CRA-W) (Gembloux)
Denmark > KU - University of Copenhagen
European Union > CORE Organic Plus > ECOORCHARD
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Plant Protection and Biodiversity
Italy > Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry of BZ Province
Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Related Links:http://projects.au.dk/coreorganicplus/research-projects/ecoorchard/, https://www.fibl.org/de/projektdatenbank/projektitem/project/1041.html
Deposited By: Pfiffner, Dr. Lukas
ID Code:35484
Deposited On:06 Jun 2019 09:12
Last Modified:06 Jun 2019 09:12
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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