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Crop rotations in a climate change scenario: short-term effects of crop diversity on resilience and ecosystem service provision under drought

Degani, E., Leigh, S. G., Barber, H. M., Jones, H. E., Lukac, M., Sutton, P. and Potts, S. G. (2019) Crop rotations in a climate change scenario: short-term effects of crop diversity on resilience and ecosystem service provision under drought. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 285. 106625. ISSN 0167-8809

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2019.106625

Abstract/Summary

Given the challenges posed to agriculture by future climatic changes, and the need to reduce environmental impacts, a key challenge is to develop resilient food production systems. Ecological intensification is an approach proposed to partially replace external inputs with the provision of biodiversity-derived ecosystems services to either maintain or increase food production. One promising practice is crop diversification, which has the potential to improve the provision of multiple ecosystem services underpinning agricultural production, and to confer resilience to abiotic stresses. This study measured a variety of ecosystem services (yield quantity and quality, soil services, pest regulation), and resistance indicators (canopy temperature and senescence rates) under stressed and controled conditions, at three levels of crop rotational diversity in the third year of the rotations. We found that increased crop diversity can maintain yields with reduced external inputs, under varying climatic conditions, with yield increases of 1 t/ha on average, and that diversifying crop rotations can improve stress resistance resulting in more resilient systems. Higher crop diversity resulted in no trade-offs between our measured ecosystem services and increased synergistic effects between stress resistance and crop production and stress resistance and pest regulation. However, farmers will need to use a combination of management approaches, alongside diversifying crop rotations, to maximise the potential of ecological intensification.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Crops Research Group
ID Code:85505
Publisher:Elsevier

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