Does diversity beget diversity? A case study of crops and weeds



Abstract. The ecological literature is ambiguous as to whether the initial diversity of a plant community facilitates or deters the diversity of colonizing species. We experimentally planted annual crop species in monoculture and polyculture, and examined the resulting weed communities. The species composition of weeds was similar among treatments, but the species richness of weeds was significantly higher in the polycultures than in the monocultures. This supports the ‘diversity begets diversity’ hypothesis. Environmental microheterogeneity, diversity promoters, and ecological equivalency do not seem able to explain the observed patterns.