Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Weed communities in the irrigated rice paddies of northern Iran.

Abstract

Dedicated insights into the diversity, spatial and temporal distribution of rice weed communities, as well as underlying ecological factors, are critical for developing effective ecological weed management strategies in these agroecosystems, leading to the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in a sustainable agriculture framework. To fulfill this aim, 108 vegetation relevés were conducted at 23 sites of rice paddies throughout 9 counties in the north of Iran at various altitudes, during three different phenological stages of rice. Data from vegetation relevés was analyzed using TWINSPAN, resulting in the identification of four main plant community types related to the different stages of rice growth: Echinochloa crus-galli-Paspalum distichum, Spirodela polyrrhiza-Lemna minor, Monochoria vaginalis s.l.-Marsilea quadrifolia, and Cyperus difformis-Ammannia baccifera. Complementary direct (canonical correspondence analysis) and indirect gradient analyses (detrended correspondence analysis) confirmed these communities' separation and indicated that the most significant environmental factors affecting plant community distribution were soil water content and soil pH. Moreover, out of 72 segetal species of investigated rice paddies, 12 species were alien to Iran, indicating that this agroecosystem provides an important source for the introduction, distribution, and possible spread of alien species into other adjacent ecosystems. Our findings contribute to the knowledge of detecting patterns of weed composition and distribution in rice paddy ecosystems, as well as their interpretation in relation to environmental gradients. They can support the establishment of ecological weed management practices in northern Iran's paddy fields.