Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Diversifying bioenergy crops increases yield and yield stability by reducing weed abundance.

Abstract

Relationships between species diversity, productivity, temporal stability of productivity, and plant invasion have been well documented in grasslands, and these relationships could translate to improved agricultural sustainability. However, few studies have explored these relationships in agricultural contexts where fertility and weeds are managed. Using 7 years of biomass yield and species composition data from 12 species mixture treatments varying in native species diversity, we found that species richness increased yield and interannual yield stability by reducing weed abundance. Stability was driven by yield as opposed to temporal variability of yield. Nitrogen fertilization increased yield but at the expense of yield stability. We show how relationships between diversity, species asynchrony, invasion, productivity, and stability observed in natural grasslands can extend into managed agricultural systems. Increasing bioenergy crop diversity can improve farmer economics via increased yield, reduced yield variability, and reduced inputs for weed control, thus promoting perennial vegetation on agricultural lands.