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Intercropping drives plant phenotypic plasticity and changes in functional trait space

Ajal, James and Kiær, Lars P. and Pakeman, Robin J. and Scherber, Christoph and Weih, Martin (2022). Intercropping drives plant phenotypic plasticity and changes in functional trait space. Basic and Applied Ecology. 61 , 41-52
[Research article]

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Abstract

The relevance of intercropping, where two or more crop species are simultaneously grown on the same land space, is growing due to its potential for improving resource use and maintaining stable yields under variable weather conditions. However, the actual growth of intercropped species may differ resulting from the idiosyncratic effect of crop diversity, and with this, the realized benefits from intercrops are found to depend critically on the cultivar, species, management and environmental conditions. This study aimed to apply a trait-based approach, in which ecological niche spaces are defined through n-dimensional hypervolumes, to identify the contribution of species/cultivar, cultivation design (sole crop or intercrop) and management (low or high fertilization) to the trait diversity of four crop species, pea-barley and faba bean-wheat, when grown as sole crops and intercrops. Four traits were used as trait axes for the trait space analysis: canopy height, shoot biomass, tiller/node number, and grain yield. We found that trait spaces differed with crop species and cultivars, and whether they were grown as intercrops or sole crops. Trait spaces differed between high and low fertilization only for the cereals grown in the more productive site (i.e. Denmark). Species grown as intercrops had larger volumes than when grown as sole crops, as a result of trait plasticity. This response to intercropping was apparent in almost all the species grown in Sweden and Denmark, except for wheat in Denmark. The study demonstrated that individual species responded to intercropping compared to sole cropping through the plasticity of traits, which influenced the shape of the hypervolumes to divide up the trait space between the species. The findings are important in illustrating the plastic responses of arable crops, which are relevant for understanding the productivity of species grown in intercrops as compared to sole crops.

Authors/Creators:Ajal, James and Kiær, Lars P. and Pakeman, Robin J. and Scherber, Christoph and Weih, Martin
Title:Intercropping drives plant phenotypic plasticity and changes in functional trait space
Series Name/Journal:Basic and Applied Ecology
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:61
Page range:41-52
Number of Pages:12
ISSN:1439-1791
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Agricultural Science
Keywords:Cereal-legume, Crop diversity, Functional traits, Hypervolume, Intercrops, Trait space
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116624
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116624
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1016/j.baae.2022.03.009
ID Code:27512
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Crop Production Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:07 Apr 2022 10:25
Metadata Last Modified:07 Apr 2022 10:31

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