The role of weeds in supporting biological diversity within crop fields

  title={The role of weeds in supporting biological diversity within crop fields},
  author={Elizabeth Marshall and Valerie K. Brown and Nigel D. Boatman and Peter J. W. Lutman and Geoffrey R. Squire and Lena K. Ward},
  journal={Weed Research},
Weeds are major constraints on crop production, yet as part of the primary producers within farming systems, they may be important components of the agroecosystem. Using published literature, the role of weeds in arable systems for other above-ground trophic levels are examined. In the UK, there is evidence that weed flora have changed over the past century, with some species declining in abundance, whereas others have increased. There is also some evidence for a decline in the size of arable… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Weeds as viable habitat for arthropod species in croplands of Central Punjab.

A review of literature on Central Punjab weeds uncovered a considerable change in the weed flora over few decades, which could be related to the intensive and extensive farming in the area, which has this increased over the few decades along with the construction of an extensive irrigation canal system.

Role of weeds in creating agro-ecological stability.

There is a significant role of weeds in a crop-system that may support other essential life forms in creating ecological balance, and some specific zoophagous insectpredators belonging to orders Odonata, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Araneae were documented on similar weeds.

The Potential of Arable Weeds to Reverse Invertebrate Declines and Associated Ecosystem Services in Cereal Crops

It is concluded that even in an intensively grown cereal, arable weeds can play an important role in maintaining and restoring invertebrate populations, that 10% weed cover is needed to fulfill the potential and that a successful outcome will be driven by the presence of weed species that support invertebrates that provide ecosystem services.

Weed and invertebrate community compositions in arable farmland

It is concluded that each conventional crop sampled had a unique composition of weeds and invertebrates, and expect this to be true for all conventional arable crops.

Diversifying crop rotations with temporary grasslands : potentials for weed mangement and farmland biodiversity

Crop rotation may be used to prevent the continuous selection of particular weed species adapted to one crop type. This might be useful for weed management, economy in herbicide applications and

A functional group approach to the management of UK arable weeds to support biological diversity

The identification of functional groups in the UK arable flora is a useful tool for assessing a weed community in the context of reconciling biodiversity provision with crop production, and two beneficial groups of species were identified.

Managing arable weeds for biodiversity.

The recovery of farmland bird species also rely on the provision of resources in field centres, and it is likely that the recovery of their populations will rely on weed management options targeted at the cropped areas of the field, which raises two further questions.



Weed vegetation (wild flora) of long established organic versus conventional cereal fields in Denmark

All variables that differed among the two farming systems had highest values - often several times higher - in the organic system with four exceptions: total biomass, biomass of crop, proportion of a single broad-leaved taxon and of grasses.

Biodiversity, herbicides and non-target plants

Herbicides provide a useful tool for the farmer, grower and vegetation manager. However, they are capable of affecting non-target plants. Non-target plants may be those outside the target area, or

Species diversity as a task for organic agriculture in Europe

A Survey of Weeds in Organic Farming in Sweden

A number of species considered endangered, rare or decreasing in Sweden were recorded on farms employing organic farming, suggesting that organic farming can contribute to maintaining biodiversity in an agricultural landscape.

Changes in the abundance of farmland birds in relation to the timing of agricultural intensification in England and Wales

1. Over the past three decades changes in agricultural management have resulted in increased crop and grass production. This intensification has been accompanied by population declines among farmland

The impact of changing the season in which cereals are sown on the diversity of the weed flora in rotational fields in Denmark

The weed flora of spring and winter cereals was compared during a 5-year study to test the hypothesis that cereal type exerts no effect on the flora or on the absolute and relative abundance of single species, which may have serious implications for the ecology of wildlife in the agricultural landscape.

Changes in the weed flora of an arable field cultivated for 20 years.

Changes in the weed flora of Boddington Barn field were monitored during 20 years of arable cropping after being ploughed out of grass in 1960, finding that Spring-germinating weeds predominated in spring-sown crops and autumn-germineating weeds in autumn- sown crops.

Weed seed banks in arable fields under contrasting pesticide regimes

Viable weed seed banks on a clay soil were estimated for five years from 11 arable fields receiving one of three levels of pesticide application, indicating relative stability of communities.

Separating the effects of crop rotation from weed management on weed density and diversity

Crop rotation is thought to reduce weed density and maintain species diversity, thus preventing the domination of a few problem weeds. Because cropping sequence dictates other agricultural management