Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice

C Hawes, GR Squire, PD Hallet, CA Watson, M Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The diversity and abundance of the within-field seedbank and emerged weed flora, were measured in over 100 fields from conventional, integrated and organic farms across the arable east of Scotland. Both seedbank and emerged flora showed significant responses to a management intensity gradient from farms with high agrochemical inputs and winter cropping to those with no inorganic inputs, spring cropping and mixed farming practices. The emerged weed flora was more affected by recent agrochemical inputs than was the seedbank, which is buffered by the persistence of weed seeds in the soil. The seedbank was more strongly influenced by soil characteristics, such as % organic carbon and % total nitrogen, than by management. Overall farming approach (categorised here as organic, integrated and conventional) appeared to exert a selection pressure on the species composition of the seedbank, building up different communities under the three farming approaches over time. These effects were scale dependent. At a within-field scale, species richness was greatest in organic farms where there was a greater abundance of weeds. At a regional and landscape scale, species richness was greater in integrated and conventional farms. This was particularly evident in integrated farms which represented a greater range of crop types and cropping practices between fields than either conventional of organic farms alone. Increasing the diversity of cropping practices between fields may offer a complementary approach to reducing agrochemical inputs for enhancing arable biodiversity across landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17 - 26
Number of pages10
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume138
Issue number1-2
Publication statusFirst published - 2010

Fingerprint

buried seeds
plant communities
farming systems
farms
agrochemicals
weeds
flora
species diversity
Scotland
soil
biodiversity
winter
carbon
nitrogen
crops
seeds

Bibliographical note

60900018

Keywords

  • Biodiversity indicators
  • Integrated management
  • Organic farming
  • Seedbank
  • Soil
  • Weed diversity

Cite this

Hawes, C., Squire, GR., Hallet, PD., Watson, CA., & Young, M. (2010). Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 138(1-2), 17 - 26.
Hawes, C ; Squire, GR ; Hallet, PD ; Watson, CA ; Young, M. / Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice. In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 2010 ; Vol. 138, No. 1-2. pp. 17 - 26.
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Hawes, C, Squire, GR, Hallet, PD, Watson, CA & Young, M 2010, 'Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice', Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, vol. 138, no. 1-2, pp. 17 - 26.

Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice. / Hawes, C; Squire, GR; Hallet, PD; Watson, CA; Young, M.

In: Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Vol. 138, No. 1-2, 2010, p. 17 - 26.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Arable plant communities as indicators of farming practice

AU - Hawes, C

AU - Squire, GR

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AU - Watson, CA

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