Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Polycultures create win-wins (#journal)

Do polycultures promote win-wins or trade-offs in agricultural ecosystem services? A meta-analysis

This meta-analysis tested whether within-field crop diversification can lead to win-win relationships between  yield and biocontrol of crop pests. 26 studies were considered. Win-win relationships were found between per plant yield of the primary crop and biocontrol in polyculture systems that minimized intraspecific competition. Findings were consistent across geographical regions and by type of primary crop. Practitioners should therefore utilize polycultures that decrease plant–plant competition through a substitution of large quantities of the primary crop for compatibly harvestable secondary crops. Additionally, if planting at high cropping densities, it is important that legumes be the secondary crop.

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