Year 2016, Volume 62, Issue 4

Year : 2016
Volume : 62
Issue : 4
Authors : Alexandra D. SOLOMOU, Elpiniki SKOUFOGIANNI
Abstract : Intercropping encourages biodiversity, by providing a habitat for a variety of plants, which benefit the population of insects and soil organisms that would not be present in a single-crop environment. The literature about this issue is scarce. Hence, the study of plant species density, alpha (species richness, Shannon, Simpson and Evenness index) and beta diversity (Jaccard similarity index) were held in the University of Thessaly facilities on May 2014, with the use of sample plot (50 x 50 cm). The experimental plots were constituted of the following types of intercropping: Pea-Oats (P-O), Pea-Barley (P-B), Winter Vetch-Oats (WV-O), Winter Vetch-Barley (WV-B), Grass Pea-Oats (GP-O) and Grass Pea-Barley (GP-B). A total number of eight species of herbaceous plants were recorded in all types of intercropping. The average density of herbaceous plants was found significantly higher in the Pea-Barley (21.80 ± 13.68, p <0.05) than the Pea-Oats (10.00 ± 7.61, p <0.05), Winter Vetch-Oats (10.60 ± 17.79, p<0.05), Winter Vetch-Barley (6.80 ± 9.47, p <0.05), Grass Pea-Oats (13.00 ± 12.20, p <0.05) and Grass Pea-Barley (5.00 ± 5.91, p <0.05). The Shannon diversity index was higher in the Pea-Barley (1.33) and lower in Winter Vetch-Oats (0.00), Winter Vetch-Barley (0.00) and Grass Pea-Barley (0.00) (p <0.05). The results also showed that the type of intercropping Pea-Barley (1.00-0.85) favoured the evenness and similarity of plant species in relation to other types of intercropping (p<0.05). Conclusively, intercropping systems clearly have the potential to increase the long-term sustainability of food production under low inputs. Specifically, the type of intercropping Pea-Barley favours alpha and beta plant diversity making this type of intercropping important, favouring parameters of biodiversity both in Greek and in the wider Mediterranean areas. We conclude, also, on the need to enhance agricultural research on these multispecies systems, combining both agronomic and ecological concepts and tools.
For citation : Solomou A., Skoufogianni E., (2016): Alpha and Beta plant diversity in multispecies agroecosystems of central Greece. Agriculture and Forestry, 62 (4): 19-25. DOI: 10.17707/AgricultForest.62.4.03
Keywords : Sustainability, crops, biodiversity, Mediterranean
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ISSN 0554-5579 (Printed)
ISSN 1800-9492 (Online)
DOI : 10.17707/AgricultForest


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