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Weed Seed Bank Diversity in Dryland Cereal Fields: Does it Differ Along the Field and Between Fields with Different Landscape Structure?

AuthorsPallavicini, Yésica ; Hernández Plaza, María Eva ; Bastida, F. ; Izquierdo, Jordi; Gallart, Montserrat; González-Andújar, José Luis
KeywordsTaxonomic and functional weed diversity
Field margin
Weed traits
Fourth-corner analysis
Weed community
Soil properties
Issue Date17-Apr-2020
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationAgronomy 10(4): 575 (2020)
AbstractIn this work, we aimed to test whether taxonomic diversity and functional diversity and the values of functional traits of the weed seed bank varied across the field, from margins to the core, and between fields embedded in distinct landscape structures. We sampled the seed bank of 47 conventionally managed cereal fields from two Mediterranean regions in Spain. In each field, three positions were selected: Margin, edge and core, and soil properties were measured for each position. Landscape structure was quantified for each field as the percentage of arable land in the surrounding 1 km radius circular sector. Seed bank diversity was characterized at the taxonomic (species richness, exponential Shannon index, and evenness) and functional levels (Rao’s quadratic entropy index and four corner analysis). For functional diversity, eight functional traits related to the whole plant life cycle were considered. Results showed a slight response of increasing taxonomic diversity from the core of the fields to the margins. Functional diversity was extremely low, indicating high similarity among species in terms of functional traits. Species in the seed bank were mostly therophytes, shorter than the crop plants, small seeded, flowering between the herbicide application of late winter and crop harvest, and showed seed dispersal by gravity or wind. This trait syndrome allows persistence in intensively managed arable lands. The similarity between fields in terms of functional diversity of the seed bank and in species traits may suggest that the intensity of management practices was similar across the fields. Moreover, it emphasizes that an increase in landscape heterogeneity, if based on other intensively managed cropping systems, may not be sufficient to augment functional diversity of weed communities. Therefore, in these areas, the seed bank could restore weed taxonomic diversity following changes in management practices, but functional diversity would still remain limited.
Description© 2020 by the authors.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040575
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