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Combined effects of agrochemicals and ecosystem services on crop yield across Europe

Gagic, Vesna; Kleijn, David; Báldi, András; Boros, Gergely; Jørgensen, Helene Bracht LU ; Elek, Zoltán; Garratt, Michael P. D.; de Groot, G. Arjen; Hedlund, Katarina LU and Kovács-Hostyánszki, Anikó, et al. (2017) In Ecology Letters 20(11). p.1427-1436
Abstract

Simultaneously enhancing ecosystem services provided by biodiversity below and above ground is recommended to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and mineral fertilisers in agriculture. However, consequences for crop yield have been poorly evaluated. Above ground, increased landscape complexity is assumed to enhance biological pest control, whereas below ground, soil organic carbon is a proxy for several yield-supporting services. In a field experiment replicated in 114 fields across Europe, we found that fertilisation had the strongest positive effect on yield, but hindered simultaneous harnessing of below- and above-ground ecosystem services. We furthermore show that enhancing natural enemies and pest control through increasing... (More)

Simultaneously enhancing ecosystem services provided by biodiversity below and above ground is recommended to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and mineral fertilisers in agriculture. However, consequences for crop yield have been poorly evaluated. Above ground, increased landscape complexity is assumed to enhance biological pest control, whereas below ground, soil organic carbon is a proxy for several yield-supporting services. In a field experiment replicated in 114 fields across Europe, we found that fertilisation had the strongest positive effect on yield, but hindered simultaneous harnessing of below- and above-ground ecosystem services. We furthermore show that enhancing natural enemies and pest control through increasing landscape complexity can prove disappointing in fields with low soil services or in intensively cropped regions. Thus, understanding ecological interdependences between land use, ecosystem services and yield is necessary to promote more environmentally friendly farming by identifying situations where ecosystem services are maximised and agrochemical inputs can be reduced.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
@article{36db9165-0c65-4593-9a59-2d898df8a0e7,
  abstract     = {<p>Simultaneously enhancing ecosystem services provided by biodiversity below and above ground is recommended to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and mineral fertilisers in agriculture. However, consequences for crop yield have been poorly evaluated. Above ground, increased landscape complexity is assumed to enhance biological pest control, whereas below ground, soil organic carbon is a proxy for several yield-supporting services. In a field experiment replicated in 114 fields across Europe, we found that fertilisation had the strongest positive effect on yield, but hindered simultaneous harnessing of below- and above-ground ecosystem services. We furthermore show that enhancing natural enemies and pest control through increasing landscape complexity can prove disappointing in fields with low soil services or in intensively cropped regions. Thus, understanding ecological interdependences between land use, ecosystem services and yield is necessary to promote more environmentally friendly farming by identifying situations where ecosystem services are maximised and agrochemical inputs can be reduced.</p>},
  author       = {Gagic, Vesna and Kleijn, David and Báldi, András and Boros, Gergely and Jørgensen, Helene Bracht and Elek, Zoltán and Garratt, Michael P. D. and de Groot, G. Arjen and Hedlund, Katarina and Kovács-Hostyánszki, Anikó and Marini, Lorenzo and Martin, Emily A. and Pevere, Ines and Potts, Simon G. and Redlich, Sarah and Senapathi, Deepa and Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf and Świtek, Stanislaw and Smith, Henrik G. and Takács, Viktória and Tryjanowski, Piotr and van der Putten, Wim H. and van Gils, Stijn and Bommarco, Riccardo},
  issn         = {1461-023X},
  keyword      = {Agricultural intensification,biological pest control,ecological intensification,fertilisers,insecticides,landscape complexity,soil organic carbon,yield loss},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {1427--1436},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Ecology Letters},
  title        = {Combined effects of agrochemicals and ecosystem services on crop yield across Europe},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12850},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2017},
}