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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reduced fertiliser applications resulted in increased plant species diversity, whereas reduced herbicides had minimal effects in a grassland and fallow land in the Netherlands

Published source details

Kleijn D. & Snoeijing G.I.J. (1997) Field boundary vegetation and the effects of agrochemical drift: botanical change caused by low levels of herbicide and fertilizer. Journal of Applied Ecology, 34, 1413-1425


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally Farmland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, randomized study on a low productive grassland and high productive fallow arable field in the Netherlands (Kleijn & Snoeijing 1997) found that decreased fertilizer applications resulted in an increase in the number of plant species, minimal effects of herbicide applications were found on fallow land. There were significantly more plant species in the plots receiving no fertilizer (grassland: 16 species/m², fallow: 23-27/m²) compared to those with 25% (grass: 14/m², fallow: 19-23/m²) and 50% (grass: 13/m², fallow: 19-23/m²) of conventional fertilizer applications. In the grassland there was no significant effect of herbicide, whereas in the fallow land there was an effect in the final assessment when 0 and 5% of conventional herbicide application plots had significantly greater species diversity than 50% of conventional herbicide application plots (24-25 vs 22/m²). The most species-rich plots were the 0% herbicide-0% fertilizer plots (grass: 15/m², fallow: 31/m²) and the 10%-0% plots (grass: 15/m²); 50-50% fertilizer plots had the least species (grass: 10/m², fallow: 20/m²). Forty-eight plots (2 x 2 m) were established on a low productivity grassland and an adjacent fallow field sown with 30 broadleaved grassland species. Fertilizer treatments were: 0, 25 and 50% of the conventional application (110 kg N/ha/year). Herbicide (fluroxypyr) treatments were: 0, 5, 10 and 50% of the standard agricultural dose (200 g/ha). Vegetation composition was assessed in April-May (grass and fallow) and September (fallow only) 1993-1996.