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Multiple ecosystem services from field margin vegetation for ecological sustainability in agriculture: scientific evidence and knowledge gaps

Multiple ecosystem services from field margin vegetation for ecological sustainability in agriculture: scientific evidence and knowledge gaps

Mkenda, Prisila A., Ndakidemi, Patrick A., Mbega, Ernest, Stevenson, Philip C. ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619, Arnold, Sarah E.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7345-0529, Gurr, Geoff M. and Belmain, Steven R. ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545 (2019) Multiple ecosystem services from field margin vegetation for ecological sustainability in agriculture: scientific evidence and knowledge gaps. PeerJ, 7:e8091. ISSN 2376-5992 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.8091)

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Abstract

Background: Field margin and non-crop vegetation in agricultural systems are potential ecosystem services providers because they offer semi-natural habitats for both below and above ground animal groups such as soil organisms, small mammals, birds and arthropods that are service supplying units. They are considered as a target area for enhancing farm biodiversity.

Methodology: To explore the multiple potential benefits of these semi-natural habitats and to identify research trends and knowledge gaps globally, a review was carried out following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. A total of 235 publications from the year 2000 to 2016 in the Scopus and Web of Science databases were reviewed.

Results: The literature showed an increasing trend in the number of published articles over time with European studies leading in the proportion of studies conducted, followed by North America, Asia, South America, Africa and Australia. Several functional groups of organisms were studied from field margin and non-crop vegetation around agricultural lands including natural enemies (37%), insect pests (22%), birds (17%), pollinators (16%), soil macro fauna (4%) and small mammals (4%). Ecosystem services derived from the field margin included natural pest regulation, pollination, nutrient cycling and reduced offsite erosion. Some field margin plants were reported to host detrimental crop pests, a major ecosystem dis-service, potentially leading to increased pest infestation in the field.

Conclusion: The majority of studies revealed the importance of field margin and non-crop vegetation around arable fields in enhancing ecosystem biodiversity. Promotion of field margin plants that selectively enhance the population of beneficial organisms would support sustainable food security rather than simply boosting plant diversity. Our analyses also highlight that agro-ecological studies remain largely overlooked in some regions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: agro-ecological intensification, biological control, predation, insect–plant interactions, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Chemical Ecology Research Group
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2019 11:14
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/26140

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