Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    We will mail you new results for this query: keywords==Sustainable agriculture
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The Missing Middle: Connected action on agriculture and nutrition across global, national and local levels to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2
Veldhuizen, L.J.L. ; Giller, K.E. ; Oosterveer, P.J.M. ; Brouwer, I.D. ; Janssen, S.J.C. ; Zanten, H.H.E. van; Slingerland, M.A. - \ 2020
Global Food Security 24 (2020). - ISSN 2211-9124 - 6 p.
SDG2 - Food systems - Sustainable agriculture - Food security - Pathways - Stakeholders
Sustainable development goal 2 (SDG 2) challenges the world to connect food production and consumption in a way that matches local contexts and enables everyone to enjoy a healthy diet that is produced sustainably and contributes to the other SDGs. We identify a Missing Middle between food production and consumption, and between globally defined goals and local implementation practices that may hinder progress towards SDG 2. Examples of this Missing Middle and how it can be bridged demonstrate that key challenges should be addressed in a more integrated manner for more effective action on SDG 2. We encourage actors in food provisioning to start addressing the Missing Middle by collaborating with relevant stakeholders in specified cases.
Applying the aboveground-belowground interaction concept in agriculture: Spatio-temporal scales matter
Veen, G.F. ; Jasper Wubs, E.R. ; Bardgett, Richard D. ; Barrios, Edmundo ; Bradford, Mark A. ; Carvalho, Sabrina ; Deyn, Gerlinde B. De; Vries, Franciska T. de; Giller, Ken E. ; Kleijn, David ; Landis, Douglas A. ; Rossing, Walter A.H. ; Schrama, Maarten ; Six, Johan ; Struik, Paul C. ; Gils, Stijn van; Wiskerke, Johannes S.C. ; Putten, Wim H. van der; Vet, Louise E.M. - \ 2019
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7 (2019)AUG. - ISSN 2296-701X
Above-belowground biotic interactions - Agroecology - Spatio-temporal scales - Steering communities - Sustainable agriculture

Interactions between aboveground and belowground organisms are important drivers of plant growth and performance in natural ecosystems. Making practical use of such above-belowground biotic interactions offers important opportunities for enhancing the sustainability of agriculture, as it could favor crop growth, nutrient supply, and defense against biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the operation of above-and belowground organisms at different spatial and temporal scales provides important challenges for application in agriculture. Aboveground organisms, such as herbivores and pollinators, operate at spatial scales that exceed individual fields and are highly variable in abundance within growing seasons. In contrast, pathogenic, symbiotic, and decomposer soil biota operate at more localized spatial scales from individual plants to patches of square meters, however, they generate legacy effects on plant performance that may last from single to multiple years. The challenge is to promote pollinators and suppress pests at the landscape and field scale, while creating positive legacy effects of local plant-soil interactions for next generations of plants. Here, we explore the possibilities to improve utilization of above-belowground interactions in agro-ecosystems by considering spatio-temporal scales at which aboveground and belowground organisms operate. We identified that successful integration of above-belowground biotic interactions initially requires developing crop rotations and intercropping systems that create positive local soil legacy effects for neighboring as well subsequent crops. These configurations may then be used as building blocks to design landscapes that accommodate beneficial aboveground communities with respect to their required resources. For successful adoption of above-belowground interactions in agriculture there is a need for context-specific solutions, as well as sound socio-economic embedding.

Marginal agricultural land low-input systems for biomass production
Cossel, Moritz Von ; Lewandowski, Iris ; Elbersen, Berien ; Staritsky, Igor ; Eupen, Michiel Van; Iqbal, Yasir ; Mantel, Stefan ; Scordia, Danilo ; Testa, Giorgio ; Cosentino, Salvatore Luciano ; Maliarenko, Oksana ; Eleftheriadis, Ioannis ; Zanetti, Federica ; Monti, Andrea ; Lazdina, Dagnija ; Neimane, Santa ; Lamy, Isabelle ; Ciadamidaro, Lisa ; Sanz, Marina ; Carrasco, Juan Esteban ; Ciria, Pilar ; McCallum, Ian ; Trindade, Luisa M. ; Loo, Eibertus N. Van; Elbersen, Wolter ; Fernando, Ana Luisa ; Papazoglou, Eleni G. ; Alexopoulou, Efthymia - \ 2019
Energies 12 (2019)16. - ISSN 1996-1073
Bio-based industry - Bioeconomy - Bioenergy - Biomass - Industrial crop - Low-input agriculture - MALLIS - Marginal land - Perennial crop - Sustainable agriculture

This study deals with approaches for a social-ecological friendly European bioeconomy based on biomass from industrial crops cultivated on marginal agricultural land. The selected crops to be investigated are: Biomass sorghum, camelina, cardoon, castor, crambe, Ethiopian mustard, giant reed, hemp, lupin, miscanthus, pennycress, poplar, reed canary grass, safflower, Siberian elm, switchgrass, tall wheatgrass, wild sugarcane, and willow. The research question focused on the overall crop growth suitability under low-input management. The study assessed: (i) How the growth suitability of industrial crops can be defined under the given natural constraints of European marginal agricultural lands; and (ii) which agricultural practices are required for marginal agricultural land low-input systems (MALLIS). For the growth-suitability analysis, available thresholds and growth requirements of the selected industrial crops were defined. The marginal agricultural land was categorized according to the agro-ecological zone (AEZ) concept in combination with the marginality constraints, so-called 'marginal agro-ecological zones' (M-AEZ). It was found that both large marginal agricultural areas and numerous agricultural practices are available for industrial crop cultivation on European marginal agricultural lands. These results help to further describe the suitability of industrial crops for the development of social-ecologically friendly MALLIS in Europe.

Perceptions of integrated crop-livestock systems for sustainable intensification in the Brazilian Amazon
Cortner, O. ; Garrett, R.D. ; Valentim, J.F. ; Ferreira, J. ; Niles, M.T. ; Reis, J. ; Gil, J. - \ 2019
Land Use Policy 82 (2019). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 841 - 853.
Farmer decision-making - Innovation - Integrated systems - Pasture intensification - Supply chains - Sustainable agriculture - Technology diffusion

Sustainable intensification of existing global croplands and rangelands is a pressing challenge to reconcile competing demands on land systems for food production and conservation of natural ecosystems. In Brazil, the world's second-largest beef-producing country, intensification of pasture-based production systems is central to both improving livelihoods and reducing deforestation, since low-productivity, low-income cattle ranches occupy a majority of the agricultural land area. Integrated crop-livestock systems (ICLS) present a promising opportunity in the array of possible agricultural intensification strategies for Brazil because they have the potential to reclaim vast areas of degraded pastures while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Much of the previous research on ICLS, particularly in Brazil, has focused on agronomic and economic aspects. Here we examine local perspectives of ICLS to better illuminate what other concerns, besides agronomic and economic outcomes, might guide farmers’ decisions to adopt this (and other) agricultural intensification strategies. We are particularly interested in the degree to which structural factors interact with personal experiences to shape information and values and farmers’ understanding of the costs and benefits of adopting a new technology. Using semi-structured interviews with a diverse sample of producers in four states in the Brazilian Amazon, we find that existing adopters perceived ICLS as a beneficial strategy for increasing the economic value and competitiveness of their farm, while most non-adopters did not. Ranchers in particular perceived intensification as a necessity to maintain their livelihood amidst declining profits and increased environmental oversight. However, both adopters and non-adopters described numerous structural barriers that impeded greater adoption of ICLS in the region, including problems obtaining qualified labor, a lack of marketing options, poor infrastructure, an unsupportive regulatory environment, and in some regions, poorly drained soils. Furthermore, non-monetary motives, such as maintaining one's existing quality of life and traditions, often drove decisions regardless of expected profit-maximization pathways. This work underscores the need to employ a more diverse set of policy tools beyond credit subsidies to encourage adoption of sustainable intensification strategies, including education programs, payments for the ecosystem services, and improved transportation and supply chain infrastructure that can support intensification and help create a climate of innovation.

A methodology to quantify the aerobic and anaerobic sludge digestion performance for nutrient recycling in aquaponics : Une méthodologie pour quantifier les performances de digestion aérobie et anaérobie des boues, pour le recyclage des nutriments en Aquaponie
Delaide, Boris ; Goddek, Simon ; Keesman, Karel J. ; Jijakli, M.H.M. - \ 2018
Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Enviroment 22 (2018)2. - ISSN 1370-6233 - p. 106 - 112.
Aerobiosis - Anaerobiosis - Aquaponics - Digesters - Mineralization - Sustainable agriculture - Waste management

Description of the subject. This research note presents a methodology to quantify the tilapia sludge digestion performance in aerobic and anaerobic reactors for aquaponic purpose. Both organic reduction and macro-and microelements mineralization performances were addressed. Objectives. To set up an appropriate methodology to quantify sludge digestion performance in aquaponics. To describe the methodology and illustrate it with some results as example. Method. Equations were adapted to quantify (1) the organic reduction performance in terms of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) reduction, and (2) the nutrient recycling performance in terms of macro-and microelements mineralization. Results. The equations were applied to data obtained from experimental aerobic and anaerobic reactors as example. Reactors were able to remove at least 50% of the TSS and COD input. The nutrient mineralization was consistent with a 10 – 60% range for all macro-and micronutrients. Conclusions. The methodology provides explicit indicators on the sludge treatment performances for aquaponics. Treating aquaponic sludge onsite is promising to avoid sludge spillage, improve nutrient recycling and save water.

Production of bioplastics for agricultural purposes : A supply chain study
Prosperi, Maurizio ; Sisto, Roberta ; Lombardi, Mariarosaria ; Zhu, Xueqin - \ 2018
Rivista di Studi sulla Sostenibilita (2018)1. - ISSN 2239-1959 - p. 119 - 136.
Biodegradable mulching films - Bioplastic - Circular economy - Organic fraction of municipal solid waste - Supply chain - Sustainable agriculture

Municipal solid waste is continuously increasing in the world. Since it contains a significant amount of organic matter, the treatment of Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) represents a relevant challenge for sustainable development. This waste fraction, may produce a number of valuable commodities. The paper focuses on some specific substances, which are suitable for the production of biodegradable plastic materials and that may be used for the production of agricultural soil mulching films. The aim of this study is to investigate on the structure of this potential supply chain, from the collection or separation of OFMSW, to the commercialisation of biodegradable mulching films, in order to identifying the possible bottlenecks hindering its development.

Thirteen decades of antimicrobial copper compounds applied in agriculture. A review
Lamichhane, Jay Ram ; Osdaghi, Ebrahim ; Behlau, Franklin ; Köhl, Jürgen ; Jones, Jeffrey B. ; Aubertot, Jean Noël - \ 2018
Agronomy for Sustainable Development 38 (2018)3. - ISSN 1774-0746
Chemical control - Copper compounds - Crop protection - Organic farming - Pathogen resistance development - Phytotoxicity - Soil accumulation - Sustainable agriculture

Since the initial use of Bordeaux mixture in 1885 for plant disease control, a large number of copper-based antimicrobial compounds (CBACs) have been developed and applied for crop protection. While these compounds have revolutionized crop protection in the twentieth century, their continuous and frequent use has also raised concerns about the long-term sustainability of copper (Cu)-based crop protection system. Here, we review CBACs used in crop protection and highlight their benefits and risks, and potential for their improvement and opportunities for further research to develop alternatives to CBACs. The major findings are (i) the relatively high toxicity to plant pathogens, low cost, low mammalian toxicity of the fixed Cu compounds, and their chemical stability and prolonged residual effects are major benefits of these compounds; (ii) phytotoxicity, development of copper-resistant strains, soil accumulation, and negative effects on soil biota as well as on food quality parameters are key disadvantages of CBACs; (iii) regulatory pressure in agriculture worldwide to limit the use of CBACs has led to several restrictions, including that imposed by the regulation 473/2002 in the European Union; and (iv) mitigation strategies to limit the negative effects of CBACs include their optimized use, soil remediation, and development and application of alternatives to CBACs for a sustainable crop protection. We conclude that recent research and policy efforts have led to the development of a number of alternatives to CBACs, which should be further intensified to ensure that growers have sufficient tools for the implementation of sustainable crop protection strategies.

Beyond agricultural innovation systems? Exploring an agricultural innovation ecosystems approach for niche design and development in sustainability transitions
Pigford, Ashlee Ann E. ; Hickey, Gordon M. ; Klerkx, Laurens - \ 2018
Agricultural Systems 164 (2018). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 116 - 121.
Agricultural innovation ecosystems - Change agency - Mission oriented innovation policy - Socio-ecological systems - Sustainability transitions - Sustainable agriculture - Systems design
Well-designed and supported innovation niches may facilitate transitions towards sustainable agricultural futures, which may follow different approaches and paradigms such as agroecology, local place-based food systems, vertical farming, bioeconomy, urban agriculture, and smart farming or digital farming. In this paper we consider how the existing agricultural innovation systems (AIS) approach might be opened up to better support the creation of innovation niches. We engage with Innovation Ecosystems thinking to consider the ways in which it might enhance efforts to create multi-actor, cross-sectoral innovation niches that are capable of supporting transitions to sustainable agricultural systems across multiple scales. While sharing many similarities with AIS thinking, Innovation Ecosystems thinking has the potential to broaden AIS by: emphasizing the role of power in shaping directionality in innovation platforms or innovation communities that are connected to niches and their interaction with regimes; highlighting the plurality of actors and actants and the integral role of ecological actants in innovation; and offering an umbrella concept through which to cross scalar and paradigmatic or sector boundaries in order to engage with a variety of innovation systems affecting multifunctional agricultural landscapes and systems. To this end, an Agricultural Innovation Ecosystems approach may help design and support development of transboundary, inter-sectoral innovation niches that can realize more collective and integrated innovation in support of sustainability transitions, and help enact mission oriented agricultural innovation policy.
Advocating a need for suitable breeding approaches to boost integrated pest management : A European perspective
Lamichhane, Jay Ram ; Arseniuk, Edward ; Boonekamp, Piet ; Czembor, Jerzy ; Decroocq, Veronique ; Enjalbert, Jérome ; Finckh, Maria R. ; Korbin, Małgorzata ; Koppel, Mati ; Kudsk, Per ; Mesterhazy, Akos ; Sosnowska, Danuta ; Zimnoch-Guzowska, Ewa ; Messéan, Antoine - \ 2018
Pest Management Science 74 (2018)6. - ISSN 1526-498X - p. 1219 - 1227.
Crop diversification - Decentralization - DUS - Food security - Minor crops - Participatory plant breeding - Seed legislation - Sustainable agriculture
Currently, European farmers do not have access to sufficient numbers and diversity of crop species/varieties. This prevents them from designing cropping systems more resilient to abiotic and biotic stresses. Crop diversification is a key lever to reduce pest (pathogens, animal pests and weeds) pressures at all spatial levels from fields to landscapes. In this context, plant breeding should consist of: (1) increased efforts in the development of new or minor crop varieties to foster diversity in cropping systems, and (2) focus on more resilient varieties showing local adaptation. This new breeding paradigm, called here 'breeding for integrated pest management (IPM)', may boost IPM through the development of cultivars with tolerance or resistance to key pests, with the goal of reducing reliance on conventional pesticides. At the same time, this paradigm has legal and practical implications for future breeding programs, including those targeting sustainable agricultural systems. By putting these issues into the context, this article presents the key outcomes of a questionnaire survey and experts' views expressed during an EU workshop entitled 'Breeding for IPM in sustainable agricultural systems'.
Semi-natural habitats support biological control, pollination and soil conservation in Europe. A review
Holland, John M. ; Douma, Jacob C. ; Crowley, Liam ; James, Laura ; Kor, Laura ; Stevenson, David R.W. ; Smith, Barbara M. - \ 2017
Agronomy for Sustainable Development 37 (2017)4. - ISSN 1774-0746
Agricultural policy - Agricultural research - Agroecology - Ecosystem services - Experimental design - Integrated pest management - Pollinators - Sustainable agriculture
Semi-natural habitats are integral to most agricultural areas and have the potential to support ecosystem services, especially biological control and pollination by supplying resources for the invertebrates providing these services and for soil conservation by preventing erosion and run-off. Some habitats are supported through agri-environment scheme funding in the European Union, but their value for ecosystem service delivery has been questioned. An improved understanding of previous research approaches and outcomes will contribute to the development of more sustainable farming systems, improve experimental designs and highlight knowledge gaps especially for funders and researchers. Here we compiled a systematic map to allow for the first time a review of the quantity of evidence collected in Europe that semi-natural habitats support biological control, pollination and soil conservation. A literature search selected 2252 publications, and, following review, 270 met the inclusion criteria and were entered into the database. Most publications were of pest control (143 publications) with less on pollination (78 publications) or soil-related aspects (31). For pest control and pollination, most publications reported a positive effect of semi-natural habitats. There were weaknesses in the evidence base though because of bias in study location and the crops, whilst metrics (e.g. yield) valued by end users were seldom measured. Hedgerows, woodland and grassland were the most heavily investigated semi-natural habitats, and the wider landscape composition was often considered. Study designs varied considerably yet only 24% included controls or involved manipulation of semi-natural habitats. Service providers were commonly measured and used as a surrogate for ecosystem service delivery. Key messages for policymakers and funders are that they should encourage research that includes more metrics required by end users, be prepared to fund longer-term studies (61% were of only 1-year duration) and investigate the role of soils within semi-natural habitats in delivering ecosystem services.
Social and ecological analysis of commercial integrated crop livestock systems : Current knowledge and remaining uncertainty
Garrett, R.D. ; Niles, M.T. ; Gil, J.D.B. ; Gaudin, A. ; Chaplin-Kramer, R. ; Assmann, A. ; Assmann, T.S. ; Brewer, K. ; Faccio Carvalho, P.C. de; Cortner, O. ; Dynes, R. ; Garbach, K. ; Kebreab, E. ; Mueller, N. ; Peterson, C. ; Reis, J.C. ; Snow, V. ; Valentim, J. - \ 2017
Agricultural Systems 155 (2017). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 136 - 146.
Agroecology - Ecosystem services - Food systems - Mixed crop livestock - Sustainable agriculture

Crops and livestock play a synergistic role in global food production and farmer livelihoods. Increasingly, however, crops and livestock are produced in isolation, particularly in farms operating at the commercial scale. It has been suggested that re-integrating crop and livestock systems at the field and farm level could help reduce the pollution associated with modern agricultural production and increase yields. Despite this potential, there has been no systematic review to assess remaining knowledge gaps in both the social and ecological dimensions of integrated crop and livestock systems (ICLS), particularly within commercial agricultural systems. Based on a multi-disciplinary workshop of international experts and additional literature review, we assess the current knowledge and remaining uncertainties about large-scale, commercial ICLS and identify the source of remaining knowledge gaps to establish priorities for future research. We find that much is understood about nutrient flows, soil quality, crop performance, and animal weight gain in commercial ICLS, but there is little knowledge about its spatial extent, animal behavior or welfare in ICLS, or the tradeoffs between biodiversity, pest and disease control, greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, and drought and heat tolerance in ICLS. There is some evidence regarding the economic outcomes in commercial ICLS and supply chain and policy barriers to adoption, but little understanding of broader social outcomes or cultural factors influencing adoption. Many of these knowledge gaps arise from a basic lack of data at both the field and system scales, which undermines both statistical analysis and modeling efforts. Future priorities for the international community of researchers investigating the tradeoffs and scalability of ICLS include: methods standardization to better facilitate international collaborations and comparisons, continued social organization for better data utilization and collaboration, meta-analyses to answer key questions from existing data, the establishment of long term experiments and surveys in key regions, a portal for citizen science, and more engagement with ICLS farmers.

Policies for reintegrating crop and livestock systems : A comparative analysis
Garrett, Rachael D. ; Niles, Meredith ; Dias Bernardes Gil, Juliana ; Dy, Philip ; Reis, Julio ; Valentim, Judson - \ 2017
Sustainability 9 (2017)3. - ISSN 2071-1050 - 22 p.
Agroecology - Brazil - New zealand - Sustainable agriculture - United states

The reintegration of crop and livestock systems within the same land area has the potential to improve soil quality and reduce water and air pollution, while maintaining high yields and reducing risk. In this study, we characterize the degree to which federal policies in three major global food production regions that span a range of socioeconomic contexts, Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States, incentivize or disincentivize the use of integrated crop and livestock practices (ICLS). Our analysis indicates that Brazil and New Zealand have the most favorable policy environment for ICLS, while the United States provides the least favorable environment. The balance of policy incentives and disincentives across our three cases studies mirrors current patterns of ICLS usage. Brazil and New Zealand have both undergone a trend toward mixed crop livestock systems in recent years, while the United States has transitioned rapidly toward continuous crop and livestock production. If transitions to ICLS are desired, particularly in the United States, it will be necessary to change agricultural, trade, environmental, biofuels, and food safety policies that currently buffer farmers from risk, provide too few incentives for pollution reduction, and restrict the presence of animals in crop areas. It will also be necessary to invest more in research and development in all countries to identify the most profitable ICLS technologies in each region.

New traits in crops produced by genome editing techniques based on deletions
Wiel, C.C.M. van de; Schaart, J.G. ; Lotz, L.A.P. ; Smulders, M.J.M. - \ 2017
Plant Biotechnology Reports 11 (2017)1. - ISSN 1863-5466 - p. 1 - 8.
Nuclease - Precision breeding - SDN - SSN - Sustainable agriculture
One of the most promising New Plant Breeding Techniques is genome editing (also called gene editing) with the help of a programmable site-directed nuclease (SDN). In this review, we focus on SDN-1, which is the generation of small deletions or insertions (indels) at a precisely defined location in the genome with zinc finger nucleases (ZFN), TALENs, or CRISPR-Cas9. The programmable nuclease is used to induce a double-strand break in the DNA, while the repair is left to the plant cell itself, and mistakes are introduced, while the cell is repairing the double-strand break using the relatively error-prone NHEJ pathway. From a biological point of view, it could be considered as a form of targeted mutagenesis. We first discuss improvements and new technical variants for SDN-1, in particular employing CRISPR-Cas, and subsequently explore the effectiveness of targeted deletions that eliminate the function of a gene, as an approach to generate novel traits useful for improving agricultural sustainability, including disease resistances. We compare them with examples of deletions that resulted in novel functionality as known from crop domestication and classical mutation breeding (both using radiation and chemical mutagens). Finally, we touch upon regulatory and access and benefit sharing issues regarding the plants produced.
Sustainabilization versus eco-imperialism: can social entrepreneurs walk the triple bottom line?
Zawerucha, Maria - \ 2016
Colorado Critical Review 1 (2016)1. - 18 p.
Social enterprise - entrepeneurship - permaculture - Sustainable agriculture - sustainabilization - eco-imperiolism - Ethiopia - Africa - Organic agriculture
Structure, function and management of semi-natural habitats for conservation biological control : A review of European studies
Holland, John M. ; Bianchi, Felix J.J.A. ; Entling, Martin H. ; Moonen, Anna Camilla ; Smith, Barbara M. ; Jeanneret, Philippe - \ 2016
Pest Management Science 72 (2016)9. - ISSN 1526-498X - p. 1638 - 1651.
Agri-environment - Agroecology - Biocontrol - Field margins - Integrated pest management - Natural enemies - Sustainable agriculture

Different semi-natural habitats occur on farmland, and it is the vegetation's traits and structure that subsequently determine their ability to support natural enemies and their associated contribution to conservation biocontrol. New habitats can be created and existing ones improved with agri-environment scheme funding in all EU member states. Understanding the contribution of each habitat type can aid the development of conservation control strategies. Here we review the extent to which the predominant habitat types in Europe support natural enemies, whether this results in enhanced natural enemy densities in the adjacent crop and whether this leads to reduced pest densities. Considerable variation exists in the available information for the different habitat types and trophic levels. Natural enemies within each habitat were the most studied, with less information on whether they were enhanced in adjacent fields, while their impact on pests was rarely investigated. Most information was available for woody and herbaceous linear habitats, yet not for woodland which can be the most common semi-natural habitat in many regions. While the management and design of habitats offer potential to stimulate conservation biocontrol, we also identified knowledge gaps. A better understanding of the relationship between resource availability and arthropod communities across habitat types, the spatiotemporal distribution of resources in the landscape and interactions with other factors that play a role in pest regulation could contribute to an informed management of semi-natural habitats for biocontrol.

How does crop residue removal affect soil organic carbon and yield? A hierarchical analysis of management and environmental factors
Warren Raffa, D. ; Bogdanski, A. ; Tittonell, P. - \ 2015
Biomass and Bioenergy 81 (2015). - ISSN 0961-9534 - p. 345 - 355.
Bioenergy - Biomass - CART - Crop production - Soil fertility - Sustainable agriculture

The current advancement of the bioenergy sector along with the need for sustainable agricultural systems call for context-specific crop residue management options - implying variable degrees of removal - across climatic regions, soil types and farming systems around the world. A large database (n=660) on the effects of crop residue management on soil organic carbon (SOC) and crop yields was compiled from studies published in the last decade and analyzed using descriptive and multivariate statistics and data mining techniques. Removing crop residues from the field led to average SOC contents that were 12 and 18% lower than in soils in which crop residues were retained, in temperate and tropical climates respectively. The dataset showed a wide variability as a result of the wide range of biophysical and management factors affecting net changes in SOC. In tropical climates the effect of crop residue management on SOC was subject to local climate and soil texture. In these regions the addition of C via crop residues was crucial in sustaining SOC especially in coarse textured soils. Yields increased following residue retention in tropical soils, while low SOC corresponded with lower crop production in temperate areas. Our results suggest that crop residue removal is not recommended in tropical soils, particularly in coarse-textured ones, and in SOC-depleted soils in temperate locations. Partial residue removal can be considered in temperate climates when soils are well-endowed in SOC. Future policies must consider the role of residues within different agro-ecosystems in order to advance agriculture and the bio-energy sector sustainably.

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