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Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

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Legumes in cropping systems.

Book cover for Legumes in cropping systems.


This book is a contribution to the debate and knowledge for the rebalancing of farming and food using legumes. The main aim is to help people who are involved in developing cropping systems: the decision makers of today and today's students who are the decision makers of tomorrow. It is aimed at all relevant decision makers: farmers, professionals who support innovation in farming, and the policy ...


Chapter 4 (Page no: 55)

Legume crops and biodiversity.

Modern intensive cropping systems rely on simple cropping sequences, mineral fertilizers and chemical crop protection. This has led to a reduction of crop diversity, simplified landscapes and declines in biodiversity. However, even today in intensive farming systems, legume-supported cropping has the potential to deliver many ecosystem services, both directly due to unique trait combinations and indirectly via promoting biodiversity and by facilitating services such as pollination, pest control and soil improvement. This chapter outlines the effects of legume cropping on biodiversity, focusing on legume-specific traits and their interactions with agricultural management. Legumes have complex direct and indirect interactions with the surrounding agroecosystem and its management, so it is not possible to fully separate general crop management effects from effects of management that is specific to legume crops, and legume-trait effects. Legumes can benefit farmland biodiversity when included in highly productive cropping systems. Legume crops qualify for the ecological focus areas in 'greening' of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union (EU). Several of the effects of legumes are related to changes in management practices, such as a reduced use of pesticides, fertilizer or soil tillage. Of course benefits for biodiversity may be also partially achieved by other crops and diversified crop rotations. However, legume traits and management practices vary at a species or even cultivar level and so here we provide a general overview of the effects on biodiversity.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Introduction - perspectives on legume production and use in European agriculture. Author(s): Watson, C. A. Stoddard, F. L.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 18) The role of legumes in bringing protein to the table. Author(s): Murphy-Bokern, D. Peeters, A. Westhoek, H.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 37) Nitrogen and phosphorus losses from legume-supported cropping. Author(s): Williams, M. Pappa, V. A. Rees, R.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 70) Grain legumes: an overview. Author(s): Stoddard, F. L.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 88) Lupins in European cropping systems. Author(s): Gresta, F. Wink, M. Prins, U. Abberton, M. Capraro, J. Scarafoni, A. Hill, G.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 109) Developing soy production in central and northern Europe. Author(s): Fogelberg, F. Recknagel, J.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 125) Legume-based green manure crops. Author(s): Baddeley, J. A. Pappa, V. A. Pristeri, A. Bergkvist, G. Monti, M. Reckling, M. Schläfke, N. Watson, C. A.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 139) White clover supported pasture-based systems in north-west Europe. Author(s): Humphreys, J. Phelan, P. Li DeJun Burchill, W. Eriksen, J. Casey, I. Enríquez-Hidalgo, D. Søegaard, K.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 157) Red clover in cropping systems. Author(s): Frankow-Lindberg, B.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 168) Lucerne (alfalfa) in European cropping systems. Author(s): Julier, B. Gastal, F. Louarn, G. Badenhausser, I. Annicchiarico, P. Crocq, G. Chatelier, D. le Guillemot, E. Emile, J. C.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 193) Mixtures of legumes for forage production. Author(s): Ćupina, B. Mikić, A. Krstić, Ð. Vujić, S. Zorić, L. Ðorđević, V. Erić, P.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 209) Introducing legumes into European cropping systems: farm-level economic effects. Author(s): Preissel, S. Reckling, M. Bachinger, J. Zander, P.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 226) Optimizing legume cropping: the policy questions. Author(s): Kuhlman, T. Helming, J. Linderhof, V.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 244) Developing legume cropping: looking forward. Author(s): Murphy-Bokern, D.