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Article

Current State and Drivers of Arable Plant Diversity in Conventionally Managed Farmland in Northwest Germany

1
Department of Plant Ecology and Ecosystems Research, University of Goettingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
2
Thünen Institute of Biodiversity, Bundesallee 65, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
3
Department of Vegetation and Phytodiversity Analysis, University of Goettingen, Untere Karspüle 1a, 37073 Goettingen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(12), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12120469
Received: 23 September 2020 / Revised: 8 December 2020 / Accepted: 9 December 2020 / Published: 11 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Biodiversity Loss & Dynamics)
Agricultural intensification has led to dramatic diversity losses and impoverishment of the arable vegetation in much of Europe. We analyzed the status of farmland phytodiversity and its determinants in 2016 in northwest Germany by surveying 200 conventionally managed fields cultivated with seven crops. The study was combined with an analysis of edaphic (soil yield potential), agronomic (crop cover, fertilizer and herbicide use) and landscape factors (adjacent habitats). In total, we recorded 150 non-crop plant species, many of them nitrophilous generalist species, while species of conservation value were almost completely absent. According to a post-hoc pairwise comparison of the mixed model results, the cultivation of rapeseed positively influenced non-crop plant species richness as compared to winter cereals (wheat, barley, rye and triticale; data pooled), maize or potato. The presence of grassy strips and ditch margins adjacent to fields increased plant richness at field edges presumably through spillover effects. In the field interiors, median values of non-crop plant richness and cover were only 2 species and 0.5% cover across all crops, and at the field edges 11 species and 4% cover. Agricultural intensification has wiped out non-crop plant life nearly completely from conventionally managed farmland, except for a narrow, floristically impoverished field edge strip. View Full-Text
Keywords: adjacent habitats; agricultural management; biodiversity loss; cereals; farmland phytodiversity; herbicides; maize; plant associations; rapeseed adjacent habitats; agricultural management; biodiversity loss; cereals; farmland phytodiversity; herbicides; maize; plant associations; rapeseed
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wietzke, A.; van Waveren, C.-S.; Bergmeier, E.; Meyer, S.; Leuschner, C. Current State and Drivers of Arable Plant Diversity in Conventionally Managed Farmland in Northwest Germany. Diversity 2020, 12, 469. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12120469

AMA Style

Wietzke A, van Waveren C-S, Bergmeier E, Meyer S, Leuschner C. Current State and Drivers of Arable Plant Diversity in Conventionally Managed Farmland in Northwest Germany. Diversity. 2020; 12(12):469. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12120469

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wietzke, Alexander, Clara-Sophie van Waveren, Erwin Bergmeier, Stefan Meyer, and Christoph Leuschner. 2020. "Current State and Drivers of Arable Plant Diversity in Conventionally Managed Farmland in Northwest Germany" Diversity 12, no. 12: 469. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12120469

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