Genetic resources of Neuquen criollo goats in Patagonia

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Neuquén are small, hardy goats raised by small-scale herders in a transhumance system under cold, semi-arid conditions. Their area is contiguous with Chile which, until border closure, was a source of genetic exchange as well as a major market for goat products. Herder families are now settled while herds continue to migrate on their transhumance […]

Rotations for sustainable production in Bedfordshire, UK

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The Colworth Farm Project in Bedfordshire, UK, is part of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative of the consumer goods company Unilever. From 1999 to 2006, a 60-ha section of the farm was used as an experimental station. The aim of the project was to develop sustainable production systems for peas and oilseed rape within a six-year […]

Landscape scale coordination to promote functional biodiversity for pest regulation in Belgium

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The SOLABIO project brought together 27 stakeholders from Flemish and Dutch provinces to prevent loss of biodiveristy and the degradation of valuable landscapes, through a wide range of activities. These included: targeting crop and non-crop habitats, including the establishment of field margins; planting of annual flower strips to attract natural enemies and pollinators, and grassy […]

Utilizing functional agrobiodiversity for pest control in the Netherlands

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The Hoeksche Waard is a 26,500 ha area of polder south of the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands.The main objective of farmers is to become less dependent on the use of (synthetic) insecticides by strength- ening the ecosystem service of pest control. To this end, annual and perennial field margins have been established, scouting of […]

Mycorrhizal enhancement in Peruvian potato production

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The influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) [two Peruvian mixed isolates, a pure isolate of Glomus intraradices] and the flavonoid, formononetin, were tested on growth, yield, and leaf elemental concentration of the Peruvian potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) ‘Yungay’. Non-AMF plants at low P had the poorest growth, while high P plants had the greatest overall […]

Adoption of sweet potato for food and feed in mixed crop-livestock systems

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Mixed crop–livestock systems have a crucial role to play in meeting the agricultural production chal- lenges of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Sweet potato is seen as a potential remedial crop for these farmers because of its high productivity and low input requirements, while its usefulness for both food and feed (dual-purpose) make it attractive […]

Productivity higher in species mixtures on tropical plantations

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At the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, some species demonstrated signficantly faster growth in mixtures than as monocultures. For instance, Jacaranda copaia, Vochysia guatemalensis and Calophyllum brasiliense produced 21% more merchantable volume as a mixture than a sole monoculture of J. copaia, the fastest growing of the three species. Similarly, Dipteryx panamensis, Virola koschnyi and Terminalia amazonia mixtures demonstrated growth […]

Higher productivity in mixed-species forest plantations

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The vast majority of the world’s forest plantations are monocultures, many consisting of just a few common and widespread genera such as Eucalyptus, Pinus, Acacia, Tectona, Picea, Pseudotsuga, Swietenia, Gmelina the most important. There are potential advantages to using species mixtures rather than the more conventional monoculture approach in forest plantations, provided they are carefully designed […]

Diversified tree plantations less vulnerable to insect pests than monocultures

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While crop monocultures have been linked with pest outbreaks, less is known about the relationship between plantations and pests. Some have argued that pests in forest plantations are related more to age structure or silvicultural practices than stand composition. Furthermore, plantation forests grown in exotic species can be remarkably pest free, until colonized by introduced […]

Intercropping benefits depend upon proximity

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There are numerous examples of crops that, when planted closely in intercropped systems, make better use of soil ntrients. In China, Wheat intercropped with maize showed a 74% increase in yields; Wheat intercropped with soybean showed a 53% increase (Zhang and Li 2003).  This is partially attributable to ‘competitive recovery’, the amelioration of abiotic stresses both […]