Special Issue "Management of Plant Functional Diversity in Agroecosystems"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Michel-Pierre Faucon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
AGHYLE (SFR Condorcet FR CNRS 3417), UniLaSalle, 19 Rue Pierre Waguet, 60026 Beauvais, France
Interests: agroecology; functional ecology; plant–soil interactions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Paolo Bàrberi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Group of Agroecology, Institute of Life Sciences, Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy
Interests: agroecology; cropping systems; functional agrobiodiversity; organic and low external input agriculture; provision of agroecosystem services; weed ecology and management
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The decline of ecosystem services has generated many studies aiming at examining functions of agrobiodiversity. Some agricultural practices may improve ecosystem functions by increasing plant diversity. Plant functional diversity influences ecosystem processes and offers ecosystem services. The effects of functional diversity on ecosystem processes may be explained by complementary resource use between plant species and by spatial niche differentiation across the soil profile. However, the role of plant functional diversity in agroecosystems processes is contentious. Functional diversity effects can be negative on ecosystem services and create disservices when processes like competition or antagonism take place, or can be neutral, when resources are not limiting. However, negative effects of functional diversity can be mitigated in agroecosystems through appropriate management practices, such as inter-row spacing, planting pattern, sowing density, and asynchronous sowing time.

The role of functional diversity is not sufficiently integrated into cropping models for agroecosystem management. The current challenge is to develop or adapt decision support tools and models by including functional diversity effects on agroecosystem functioning for ecological intensification of agriculture through targeted management.

This Special Issue aims to collect research on the effects of plant functional diversity on agroecosystem functioning and agroecosystem service provision in diverse, cropping systems, agricultural practices, and soil and climate contexts. The focus is on key agroecosystem services like food production, crop protection (e.g. weed reduction, biological pest/disease control), climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and soil and water conservation, but others are welcome too. We encourage contributions on plant functional diversity at any agrobiodiversity level (genetic, species, habitat) and on either planned (e.g. crops, cover crops) or associated (e.g. spontaneous vegetation in/around fields) agrobiodiversity.

Submissions on the following topics are invited: (1) Agronomic practices related to plant functional diversity management (e.g., intercropping, relay cropping, cover crops, agroforestry, permanent green infrastructures), with special emphasis on traits providing agroecosystem services; (2) advanced approaches and techniques for scaling up from cultivated plant communities to the landscape level; and (3) decision support tools and models based on functional traits or biodiversity indicators to quantify ecosystem services.

Prof. Dr. Michel-Pierre Faucon
Prof. Dr. Paolo Bàrberi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agrobiodiversity
  • Agroecology
  • Functional diversity
  • Functional trait
  • Ecosystem services
  • Crop model
  • Scaling up
  • Intercropping
  • Cover crops
  • Crop diversification
  • Cropping system
  • Farming system
  • Genetic diversity
  • Species diversity
  • Habitat diversity

Published Papers (3 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Exploiting Plant Functional Diversity in Durum Wheat–Lentil Relay Intercropping to Stabilize Crop Yields under Contrasting Climatic Conditions
Agronomy 2022, 12(1), 210; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12010210 - 16 Jan 2022
Viewed by 239
Abstract
Relay intercropping is considered a valuable agroecological practice to increase and stabilize crop yields while ensuring the provision of several ecosystem services as well as sustainability and resilience to changing climatic conditions. However, farmers are still reluctant in the use of intercropping practices [...] Read more.
Relay intercropping is considered a valuable agroecological practice to increase and stabilize crop yields while ensuring the provision of several ecosystem services as well as sustainability and resilience to changing climatic conditions. However, farmers are still reluctant in the use of intercropping practices since there is a huge knowledge gap regarding the time of sowing, sowing ratio, crop stand density, and cultivar choice. In this study, we carried out a 3-year field experiment in Central Italy to assess the effect of relay intercropping on the agronomic performance and competitiveness of winter durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf. cv. Minosse) and spring lentil (Lens culinaris Medik. cv. Elsa) under a low-input management system, comparing different crop stand types (monocrop vs. intercrop) and target plant densities (350 plants m2—full dose vs. 116 plants m2—1/3 dose). The results revealed that intercropping increased grain yield compared to monocropping: significantly (p < 0.0001) against both monocrops in 2021 and non-significantly against durum wheat in 2019 and 2020. Yield advantage in both intercropping systems ranged between 164 and 648%. Durum wheat competitiveness was stronger in 2019 and 2021, while lentil was the most competitive component in 2020. Intercropping favored P accumulation in durum wheat shoots. There was no difference in grain yield of both crops between the highly- and lowly-dense system in 2020 and 2021. Both intercropping strategies were as effective as mechanical hoeing in controlling weeds and proved beneficial in stabilizing lentil productivity. Further economic analysis capturing the additional costs incurred in intercropping and mechanical weeding would highlight the magnitude of profitability of these systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Plant Functional Diversity in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Impacts of Shade Trees on the Adjacent Cacao Rhizosphere in a Young Diversified Agroforestry System
Agronomy 2022, 12(1), 195; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy12010195 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Cacao agroforestry systems offer the potential to diversify farmer income sources, enhance biodiversity, sequester carbon, and deliver other important ecosystem services. To date, however, studies have emphasized field- and system-scale outcomes of shade tree integration, and potential impacts on the rhizosphere of adjacent [...] Read more.
Cacao agroforestry systems offer the potential to diversify farmer income sources, enhance biodiversity, sequester carbon, and deliver other important ecosystem services. To date, however, studies have emphasized field- and system-scale outcomes of shade tree integration, and potential impacts on the rhizosphere of adjacent cacao trees have not been fully characterized. Interactions at the root–soil interface are closely linked to plant health and productivity, making it important to understand how diverse shade tree species may affect soil fertility and microbial communities in the cacao rhizosphere. We assessed the impacts of neighboring shade tree presence and identity on cacao yields and physical, chemical, and biological components of the cacao rhizosphere in a recently established diversified agroforestry system in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Stepwise regression revealed surprising and strong impacts of microbial diversity and community composition on cacao yields and pod infection rates. The presence of neighboring shade trees increased nitrogen, phosphorus, and pH in the rhizosphere of nearby cacao trees without yield losses. Over a longer time horizon, these increases in rhizosphere soil fertility will likely increase cacao productivity and shape microbial communities, as regression models showed nitrogen and phosphorus in particular to be important predictors of cacao yields and microbiome diversity and composition. However, neither presence nor identity of shade trees directly affected microbial diversity, community composition, or field-scale distance-decay relationships at this early stage of establishment. These results highlight locally specific benefits of shade trees in this agroecological context and emphasize the rhizosphere as a key link in indirect impacts of shade trees on cacao health and productivity in diversified systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Plant Functional Diversity in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Unravelling the Role of Rhizosphere Microbiome and Root Traits in Organic Phosphorus Mobilization for Sustainable Phosphorus Fertilization. A Review
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2267; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112267 - 10 Nov 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
Moving toward more sustainable sources for managing phosphorus (P) nutrition in agroecosystems, organic phosphorus (Po) derived from organic inputs and soil is increasingly considered to complement mineral P fertilizer. However, the dynamics of P added by organic input in soil-plant systems is still [...] Read more.
Moving toward more sustainable sources for managing phosphorus (P) nutrition in agroecosystems, organic phosphorus (Po) derived from organic inputs and soil is increasingly considered to complement mineral P fertilizer. However, the dynamics of P added by organic input in soil-plant systems is still poorly understood and there is currently no clear information on how the Po composition of these amendments determines P availability through interactions with the soil microbiome and root traits. Here, we review the main mechanisms of rhizosphere microbiome and root traits governing the dynamics of organic input/soil-derived Po pools in the soil-plant system. We discuss the extent to which the major forms of Po derived from organic input/soil can be used by plants and how this could be improved to provide efficient utilization of organic inputs as potential P sources. We provide new insights into how a better understanding of the interactions between Po forms, root traits, and rhizosphere microbiomes can help better manage P fertilization, and discuss recent advances in the mobilization and recovery of Po from organic inputs. We then develop proposed strategies in agroecology that could be used to improve Po utilization, specifically by better linking plant traits and Po forms, and developing new cropping systems allowing more efficient Po recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management of Plant Functional Diversity in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop