Year-to-year crop shifts promote weed diversity in tropical permanent rainfed cultivation - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment Year : 2020

Year-to-year crop shifts promote weed diversity in tropical permanent rainfed cultivation


In the past decades, the expansion and modernisation of agriculture in the mountainous areas of Southeast Asia has had severe impacts on biodiversity, as the once species-rich forests were turned into homogeneous fields receiving ample external inputs. A common feature of permanent cropping with annual crops is the frequent change of crop choice, depending on market opportunities or other motives. However, the precise effect of crop shifts on weeds in tropical areas is largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the short-term effect of crop sequences on the diversity of weed communities in smallholder fields of Northern Thailand. Crop choices were upland rice, maize, fallow and young tree plantations with or without intercrop. We counted the number of crop shifts and the number of crops involved during a 3-years period preceding weed sampling. We showed that the number of crop shifts did not affect weed density and biomass. However, herbaceous species number and diversity (measured as Shannon index) increased by 36% and 46% respectively, while herbaceous species dominance decreased by 38%, in fields with yearly crop shifts compared to fields with no shifts in the previous three years. The effect of a particular crop on diversity, or the effect of intercropping with young trees, was weaker. It was likely due to the more variable resources (especially light) in fields with two crop shifts, allowing species with different niches to co-exist. Crop type and frequent crop shifts did not affect shrub and tree species number,diversity or dominance. Some species were strongly associated with fields with no crop shift in the sequence (e.g. the tree Antidesma velutinosum) or to fields with two crop shifts in the sequence (e.g. the herb Centella asiatica, the C4 grass Digitaria radicosa). Overall, this study showed that in this agronomical system, maintaining yearly crop shifts does not significantly affect weed abundance, but supports in-field plant species diversity, which is likely to impact the services provisioned by tropical mountainous agro-ecosystems.
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hal-02912968 , version 1 (22-08-2022)


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M. Neyret, Anneke de Rouw, Nathalie Colbach, Henri Robain, B. Soulileuth, et al.. Year-to-year crop shifts promote weed diversity in tropical permanent rainfed cultivation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2020, 301, 11 p. + 9 p. ⟨10.1016/j.agee.2020.107023⟩. ⟨hal-02912968⟩
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