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See detailPest regulation and support of natural enemies in agriculture: Experimental evidence of within field wildflower strips
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Chevalier Mendes Lopes, Thomas ULg; Boeraeve, Fanny ULg et al

in Ecological Engineering (2017), 98

tRestoring ecosystem services in agriculture is vital to reach a sustainable food production. More specif-ically, developing farming practices which enhance biological pest control is a main issue for ... [more ▼]

tRestoring ecosystem services in agriculture is vital to reach a sustainable food production. More specif-ically, developing farming practices which enhance biological pest control is a main issue for today’sagriculture. The aim of this study was to assess whether the two strategies of complicating the search ofhost plants by pests by increasing plant diversity, and of supporting their natural enemies by managinghabitats, could be combined simultaneously at the field scale to restore biological pest control and reducechemical insecticide use. In Gembloux (Belgium), wildflower strips (WFS) were sown within wheat cropsin which pests (i.e., aphids), their predators (i.e. aphidophagous hoverflies, lacewings and ladybeetles)and parasitoid wasps were monitored for 10 weeks in the period of May through July 2015 as indicatorsof the ES of pest control. Aphids were significantly reduced and adult hoverflies favoured in wheat inbetween WFS, compared to monoculture wheat plots. No significant differences were observed for adultlacewings, ladybeetles and parasitoids. In all treatments, very few lacewing and ladybeetle larvae wereobserved on wheat tillers. The abundance of hoverfly larvae was positively correlated with the aphid den-sity on tillers in between WFS, showing that increasing food provisions by multiplying habitats withinfields, and not only along margins, can help supporting aphidophagous hoverflies in crops. By enhancingthe ecosystem services of biological pest control, this study shows that increasing both plant diversityand managing habitats for natural enemies may reduce aphid populations, hence insecticide use. Futureresearch should continue this vein of work by quantifying the link between agricultural practices and thedelivery of ecosystem services in order to guide future measures of agricultural policies. [less ▲]

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See detailPlant functional traits as a promising tool for the ecological restoration of degraded tropical metal-rich habitats and revegetation of metal-rich bare soils: A case study in copper vegetation of Katanga, DRC
Ilunga wa Ilunga, Edouard; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Piqueray, Julien et al

in Ecological Engineering (2015), 82

Ecological restoration of degraded metal-rich habitats and bare metal-rich soils created by mining activities has nowadays become a major environmental issue to reduce mining impacts on the erosion of ... [more ▼]

Ecological restoration of degraded metal-rich habitats and bare metal-rich soils created by mining activities has nowadays become a major environmental issue to reduce mining impacts on the erosion of biodiversity and the degradation of landscape, soil and water.Studies based on species identification for restoration purposes without reference to plant trait are limited only to local pool of species which makes the interpretation and applications in various ecological contexts rather difficult. This study aims at trait analysis of metal-rich habitats in order to test the differences in plant traits in degraded primary habitat and along a successional gradient in secondary habitats. In this context, investigation of the existence of resilience or the need for ecological restoration is attempted. A second aim of this work is also the identification of traits candidates for appropriate species selection for revegetation of metal-rich bare soils purposes.Results showed that the cover of xylopodia trait values decreases according to the intensity of degradation among habitats, and can be considered an indicator of habitat degradation. Differences of traits values among primary and old secondary habitats highlighted that the absence of resilience of degraded primary steppic savanna was not explained by 14 soil factors measured.The main plant traits for revegetation of metal-rich bare soils are the following: annual life cycle, growth phenology in wet season, depth 0-10. cm of underground system. , bud bank by seeds, dispersule size <2. mm. ×. 2. mm and dispersal mode by adhesion.Future challenge would be to develop new functional ecosystem on metal-rich bare soils promoting biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services related to water and soil protection. This would require the association of species selected for revegetation and phytostabilization from plant traits occurring in secondary metalliferous habitats and species selected from plant traits specific to primary habitats. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailSoil seed bank characteristics in Cameroonian rainforests and implications for post-logging recovery
Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Bauduin, Aline ULg; Bourland, Nils ULg et al

in Ecological Engineering (2011), 37(10), 1499-1506

The soil seed bank is considered as an important component for resilience of climacic vegetation. No investigation has ever been conducted in Central African rainforests regarding this topic. We studied ... [more ▼]

The soil seed bank is considered as an important component for resilience of climacic vegetation. No investigation has ever been conducted in Central African rainforests regarding this topic. We studied the soil seed bank characteristics in relation to the standing vegetation in three Cameroonian forest zones with different disturbance regimes. There was no significant difference between sites in terms of density of the seed bank. But dissimilarities of the floristic compositions between sites were high. Overall, seeds came from 43 species including three commercial tree species. Whereas the seedlings emerging from soil samples mostly came from weedy and short-lived pioneer species, climax species predominated in the extant vegetation, leading to a very weak similarity between soil seed flora and the surrounding vegetation. Canopy openness could significantly affect the species richness of soil seed stocks but not the seed density. These results show that the soil seed bank contribution to the resilience of mature tropical forests is low. In particular, very few timber tree species could benefit from soil seed stocks for their regeneration. Therefore, the development of enrichment techniques including use of the soil seed bank as a source of tree regeneration in such a context would be irrelevant. [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal productivity of a periphytic algal community for biofuel feedstock generation and nutrient treatment
Sandefur, HN; Matlock, MD; Costello, TA et al

in Ecological Engineering (2011), 37

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