Multispecies co-culture promotes ecological intensification of vegetable production

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Nian Feng Wan
  • Honghua Su
  • Andrea Cavalieri
  • Benjamin Brack
  • Jin Yang Wang
  • Weiner, Jacob
  • Neng Neng Fan
  • Xiang Yun Ji
  • Jie Xian Jiang

Increasing agricultural biodiversity by diversifying crops or by co-culture of crops and aquatic animals has been widely recognised as a way to promote ecological intensification of crop production and reduce the use of pesticides. However, the potential of multi-trophic-level production systems, such as the co-culture of vegetables, flowers and aquatic animals, has received little attention. We performed a two-year experiment comparing multispecies (cauliflower, taro, flowers and aquatic animals) co-culture, and mono-cauliflower farming practices on the Chongming Eco-island of China. The abundance of herbivorous insects and their predators, pesticide input and cauliflower yield were recorded. The results indicated that multispecies co-culture decreased the abundance of insect herbivores by 19.9–26.0% and thus decreased pesticide use by 22.2–30.0%. Meanwhile, we found that co-culture of crops, flowers and aquatic animals increased the abundance (29.5–34.1%), and species diversity of invertebrate predators (3.3–3.8%), and increased cauliflower yield (6.9–7.5%). There were significant positive relationships between the abundance, species richness (or diversity) of arthropod predators and cauliflower yield. Multispecies co-culture has great potential to promote ecological intensification of vegetable production and the associated ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120851
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume257
ISSN0959-6526
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Arthropod predator, Biodiversity, Chlorantraniliprole suspension concentrate, Chongming island, Flower strip, Insect herbivore, Pesticide reduction

ID: 239667532