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Agronomy for Sustainable Development
Vol. 33, No.1,
2013; Page: 205 - 217

Weed dispersal by farming at various spatial scales. A review

Sandrine Petit, Audrey Alignier, Nathalie Colbach, Alexandre Joannon, Didier Le Cœur, Claudine Thenail

INRA, UMR 1347, Agroécologie ECOLDUR, 21000, Dijon Cedex, France.


Reducing pesticide use in agriculture is necessary to preserve natural resources. However, pest control without pesticides is a challenging issue. In particular, weed infestation may cause severe losses of crop yield. Weeds have been traditionally managed solely at the field level. However, larger scales must be considered because invasive and herbicide-tolerant weeds are spreading over larger scales. This review discusses three spatial scales at which agricultural management might affect the dispersal of weeds and, in turn, their distribution and abundance in agricultural fields. The main points are: (1) at the field level, crop and margin management impact mass effect, i.e., local exchanges between the field margin and the cultivated field; (2) at the farm level crop allocation, the management of field boundaries and agricultural circulation in the farm strongly impact the intensity and direction of weed dispersal; and (3) at the landscape level, the spatial farms distribution controls the distribution of weed habitat and, in turn, landscape species pool and long-distance weed dispersal. We conclude that weed dispersal is driven by agricultural management at multiple scales. Weed scientists should thus extend their view on weed dispersal from within-field scales to among-field and landscape scales.

Keywords: Weed management; Field boundary; Agricultural circulation; Land use allocation; Connectivity; Concerted management



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