Managing Arable Weeds for Biodiversity

Storkey, J. and Westbury, Duncan B (2007) Managing Arable Weeds for Biodiversity. Pest Management Science, 63 (6). pp. 517-523.

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As a result of the recent intensification of crop production, the abundance and diversity of UK arableweeds adapted to cultivated land have declined, with an associated reduction in farmland birds. A number ofquestions need to be addressed when considering how thesedeclines can be reversed. Firstly, can the delivery ofcrop production and biodiversity be reconciled by spatially separating cropping from designated wildlife areas?A number of subsidised environmental schemes in the UKtake this approach and are focused on establishingvegetation cover on uncropped land. However, because of the lack of regular disturbance in these habitats, theyare dominated by perennials and they therefore have limited potential for promoting the recovery of annual weedpopulations. A number of farmland bird species also rely on the provision of resources in field centres, and it istherefore likely that the recovery of their populations will rely on weed management options targeted at the croppedareas of the field. This raises two further questions. Firstly, is it possible to identify beneficial weed species thatare relatively poor competitors with the crop and also have biodiversity value? Secondly, are the tools available tomanage these species at acceptable levels while controlling pernicious weeds? A number of approaches are beingemployed to answer these questions, including predicting yield loss from weed competition models and exploitingherbicide selectivity. The further development of these tools is crucial if farmer opposition to managing weeds incrops is to be overcome.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: weeds, biodiversity, management, arable crops
Divisions: Land and Property Management
Depositing User: Professor Duncan Westbury
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2024 17:48
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2024 17:48

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