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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Organic fields sustain weed metacommunity dynamics in farmland landscapes

Henckel, Laura; Boerger, Luca; Meiss, Helmut; Gaba, Sabrina; Bretagnolle, Vincent


Agro-ecosystems constitute essential habitat for many organisms. Agricultural intensification, however, has caused a strung dedine of farmland biodiversity.Organic farming (OF) is often presented as a more biodiversity-friendly practice, but the generality of the beneficial effects of OF is debated as the effects appear often species- and context-dependent, and current research has highlighted the need to quantify the relative effects of local- and landscape-scale management on farmland biodiversity. Yet very few studies have investigated the landscape-level effects of OF; that is to say, how the biodiversity of a field is affected by the presence or density of organically farmed fields in the surrounding landscape. We addressed this issue using the metacommunity framework, with weed species richness in winter wheat within an intensively farmed landscape in France as model system. Controlling for the effects of local and landscape structure, we showed that OF leads to higher local weed diversity and that the presence of OF in the landscape is associated with higher local weed biodiversity also for conventionally farmed fields, and may reach a similar biodiversity level to organic fields in field margins. Based on these results, we derive indications for improving the sustainable management of farming systems.


organic farming; agricultural intensification; landscape heterogeneity; spatial scale; weeds; agroecology

Published in

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
2015, Volume: 282, number: 1808, article number: 20150002

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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