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Configurational crop heterogeneity increases within-field plant diversity

Alignier, Audrey; Solé-Senan, Xavier Oriol; Robleño, Irene; Baraibar, Bàrbara; Fahrig, Lenore; Giralt, David; Gross, Nicolas; Martin, Jean-Louis; Recasens, Jordi; Sirami, Clélia; Siriwardena, Gavin; Bosem-Baillod, Aliette; Bertrand, Colette; Carrié, Romain; Hass, Annika; Henckel, Laura; Miguet, Paul; Badenhausser, Isabelle; Baudry, Jacques; Bota, Gerard; Bretagnolle, Vincent; Brotons, Lluis; Burel, Françoise; Calatayud, François; Clough, Yann; Georges, Romain; Gibon, Annick; Girard, Jude; Lindsay, Kathryn; Miñano, Jesús; Mitchell, Scott; Patry, Nathalie; Poulin, Brigitte; Tscharntke, Teja; Vialatte, Aude; Violle, Cyrille; Yaverscovski, Nicole and Batáry, Péter (2020) Configurational crop heterogeneity increases within-field plant diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57 (4), pp. 654-663.

[thumbnail of Alignier-etal-2020-JApplEcology-Vol00-p1-10.pdf] PDF - English

Document available online at: https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2664.13585


1. Increasing landscape heterogeneity by restoring semi‐natural elements to reverse farmland biodiversity declines is not always economically feasible or acceptable to farmers due to competition for land. We hypothesized that increasing the heterogeneity of the crop mosaic itself, hereafter referred to as crop heterogeneity, can have beneficial effects on within‐field plant diversity.
2. Using a unique multi‐country dataset from a cross‐continent collaborative project covering 1,451 agricultural fields within 432 landscapes in Europe and Canada, we assessed the relative effects of compositional and configurational crop heterogeneity on within‐field plant diversity components. We also examined how these relationships were modulated by the position within the field.
3. We found strong positive effects of configurational crop heterogeneity on within‐field plant alpha and gamma diversity in field interiors. These effects were as high as the effect of semi‐natural cover. In field borders, effects of crop heterogeneity were limited to alpha diversity. We suggest that a heterogeneous crop mosaic may overcome the high negative impact of management practices on plant diversity in field interiors, whereas in field borders, where plant diversity is already high, landscape effects are more limited.
4. Synthesis and applications. Our study shows that increasing configurational crop heterogeneity is beneficial to within‐field plant diversity. It opens up a new effective and complementary way to promote farmland biodiversity without taking land out of agricultural production. We therefore recommend adopting manipulation of crop heterogeneity as a specific, effective management option in future policy measures, perhaps adding to agri‐environment schemes, to contribute to the conservation of farmland plant diversity.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:biodiversity conservation, crop mosaic, diversity partitioning, farmland, field border, landscape composition, landscape configuration, weed
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Spain > CSIC (Spanish National Research Council)
France > Université de Toulouse
Switzerland > Agroscope
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Biodiversity > Functional agrobiodiversity
Germany > University of Göttingen > Plant Production
Spain > Universitat de Lleida
Spain > Other organizations
France > Other organizations
Sweden > University of Lund
UK > British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
USA > Other organizations
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:37564
Deposited On:17 Mar 2020 12:36
Last Modified:04 Aug 2021 08:57
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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