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The wild flora biodiversity in pesticide free bufferzones along old hedgerows

Journal of Environmental Biology

Abstract

The natural field margin ecotone from the field border and into a cropped field hosts a diversity of plant species. In conventional cropped fields, biodiversity suffers from fertilizer and pesticide application. In our study at Danish conventional spring-barley fields, we laid out bufferzones with no pesticide application spraying after sowing, with the widths: 24, 12,6 and 4 m (and control) to the field edge hedgerow. Through one season: plant species number, biodiversity and evenness for each bufferzone at the distances: 18, 9, 5, 2 and 0 m from the hedgerow were significantly affected by distance to the hedge and by width of bufferzone. The bufferzones affected: species number (total of 92 weed species), species diversity (1.27 to 0.44) and species evenness index (0.63 to 0.87), and revealed that the bufferzone of 24 m gave the largest improvement of the field margin for plants. Decreasing the bufferzone widths provided smaller biodiversity and larger evenness of plants at distances larger than the buffer width: the distance at which diversity (Shannons) was reduced by half the difference between hedge- and field diversity was 1.2, 3.1, 6.7, 10.8 and 10.9 m in bufferwidth treatments of 0, 4, 6, 12 and 24 m; likewise, the half-way distance for Smiths and Wilsons evenness index was 1.2, 1.7, 5.4, 14.0 and 30.2 m in the bufferwidth treatments of 0, 4, 6, 12 and 24 m. Based on modelled diversity and evenness indexes a positive effect of buffer was evident from 6 m bufferzone. The average diversity over the distances from 0 to 18 m was 0.66, 0.75, 0.98, 1.14 and 1.11 in bufferwidth treatments of 0, 4, 6, 12 and 24 m and the average evenness over the distances from 0 to 18 m was 0.82, 0.80, 0.74, 0.66 and 0.63, in bufferwidth treatments of 0, 4, 6, 12 and 24 m. Furthermore, the accumulated number of species revealed that a bufferzone width of at least 6 m was needed to significantly increase the species richness at all distances between 2 and 18 m. At 18 m distance, the accumulated number of species was 37.1, 39.7, 41.2, 42.4 and 42.7 in bufferwidth treatments of 0, 4, 6, 12 and 24 m.

Author(s): Andresen, LC; Nothlev, J; Kristensen, K; Navntoft, S; Johnsen, I

Journal: Journal of Environmental Biology

Year: 2012

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