Question: How do local and landscape management contribute to weed diversity in Hungarian winter cereal fields?
Location: Central Hungary.
Methods: Vascular plants were sampled in 18 winter cereal fields along an intensification gradient according to nitrogen fertilization, in the first cereal rows (edge) and in the interior part of the fields. Weed species were divided into groups according to their residence time in Central Europe (native species, archaeophytes, neophytes) and nitrogen preference (low to medium, LMNP, and high, HNP species). The percentage of semi-natural habitats was calculated in the 500 m radius circle. Effects of fertilizer use, transect position and semi-natural habitats were estimated by general linear mixed models.
Results: We recorded 149 weed species. Fertilizer had a negative impact on the species richness of archaeophytes and LMNP species, and on the cover of native weeds. There was greater species richness and weed cover at the edge of the fields than in the centre. A higher percentage of seminatural habitats around the arable fields resulted in greater total species richness, especially of archaeophytes and LMNP species. We found an interaction between the percentage of semi-natural habitats and transect position for species richness of archaeophytes and LMNP species.
Conclusions: Reduced use of fertilizers and a high percentage of semi-natural habitats would support native and archaeophyte weed diversity even in winter cereal fields, while large amounts of fertilizer may promote invasion of neophytes. However, the beneficial effect of the semi-natural habitats and greater species pool on the arable flora may prevail only in the crop edges.