Recent history of agriculture is characterised by intensification, with heavy use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, and in consequence a severe loss of biological diversity. Ecologists and farmers often seem to be enemies; food safety and nature protection are competing interests. Yet, over the last decade an interdisciplinary exchange has started between ecological and agricultural scientists, like in the field of weed science. Aiming at a sustainable weed management, cropping practices are sought that reconcile production aims with environmental protection, for example by lowering the dependence on herbicides. Another challenging subject in weed science is the impact of and adaptation to climate change.
To tackle these subjects, ecological approaches were adopted in the agricultural context. Vegetation surveys are used to describe arable floras and species composition, and followed by the analysis of changes and drivers. The scientific methods used for this were mostly established by ecologists and vegetation scientists: ordination, classification, population modelling, trait-based analysis, species distribution modelling. Now we can look for methods of weed management with the knowledge of ecological processes involved, rather than just destroying all undesired vegetation and losing the associated ecosystem services. Likewise, we search for management practices that may counteract the effects of climate change.
In the lecture I will present some results of my research on changing distributions of arable weeds in Northern Germany under future climate change, which is connected to their damage potential, of a simulation study on the impacts of changed crop management practices on arable biodiversity, and I will give an outlook on coming research that integrates these subjects over spatial and temporal scales.
Diversity and impact of invasive crayfish and crayfish plague: from Czechia to continental scale
A new experiment to unravel the Impact of Biodiversity and Climate Variability on the functioning of grasslands
Anticipating biome shifts