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Combined effects of agrochemicals and ecosystem services on crop yield across Europe

Gagic, V., Kleijn, D., Báldic, A., Boros, G., Bracht Jorgensen, H., Elek, Z., Garratt, M., De Grootx, A., Hedlund, K., Kovács-Hostyánszki, A., Marini, L., Martin, E., Pevere, I., Potts, S., Redlich, S., Senapathi, D., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Świtek, S., Smith, H., Takács, V. , Tryjanowski, P. v. d. P., van Gils, S. and Bommarco, R. (2017) Combined effects of agrochemicals and ecosystem services on crop yield across Europe. Ecology Letters, 20 (11). pp. 1427-1436. ISSN 1461-0248

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/ele.12850

Abstract/Summary

Simultaneously enhancing ecosystem services provided by biodiversity below and above ground is recommended to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and mineral fertilizers in agriculture. However, consequences for crop yield have been poorly evaluated. Above ground, increased landscape complexity is assumed to enhance biological pest control, whereas below ground, soil organic carbon (SOC) is a proxy for several yield-supporting services. In a field experiment replicated in 114 fields across Europe, we found that fertilization had the strongest positive effect on yield, but hindered simultaneous harnessing of below- and above-ground ecosystem services. We furthermore show that enhancing natural enemies and pest control through increasing landscape complexity can prove disappointing in fields with low soil services or in intensively cropped regions. Thus, understanding ecological interdependences between land-use, ecosystem services and yield is necessary to promote more environmentally friendly farming by identifying situations where ecosystem services are maximized and agrochemical inputs can be reduced.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:72282
Publisher:Wiley

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