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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Weed Species Trait Selection as Shaped by Region and Crop Diversity in Organically Managed Spring Cereals

Hofmeijer, Merel A. J.; Melander, Bo; Salonen, Jukka; Lundkvist, Anneli; Zarina, Livija; Gerowitt, Baerbel


Weeds remain a challenge in organic arable farming, as well as supply ecosystem services. The aim is to control weed densities while hosting a diverse and manageable weed community, preventing domination of few deleterious species. Therefore, we want to understand how specific species are stimulated, and which traits are selected for. This study focuses on crop diversity hypothesizing that (1) regions and (2) crop diversity function as filters for specific weed species traits. We conducted a weed monitoring in spring cereals over 2 years on organic farms in five northern European regions. Management and weed trait variables collected for the occurring species allowed an RLQ fourth-corner analysis. The weed communities were regionally specific, but trait selection was not observed, except in Latvia. Hence, the regional species pool provided different species with similar traits. Crop diversity within the management of spring cereals, such as undersowing and cereal frequency in the rotation, affected weed traits. The number of years under organic production selected no traits, although species numbers are known to increase. Hence, general weed species diversity increased, irrespective of traits. We conclude that organic management may support the agility within the weed community against selection of species and act as a buffer rather than as filter.


undersowing; winter catch crops; crop mixtures; arable flora; community assembly; Baltic area; northern Europe

Published in

2021, Volume: 11, number: 5, article number: 433
Publisher: MDPI

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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