Conservation headlands for rare arable weeds: the effects of fertilizer application and light penetration on plant growth

  • Published source details Kleijn D. & van der Voort L.A.C. (1997) Conservation headlands for rare arable weeds: the effects of fertilizer application and light penetration on plant growth. Biological Conservation, 81, 57-67.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Leave headlands in fields unsprayed (conservation headlands)

    A replicated, controlled study of headlands of three winter rye fields in 1991 in the Netherlands (Kleijn & van der Voort 1997) found that weed species richness, abundance and biomass was higher in unfertilized crop edges than those that had received fertilizer. Species richness (17 vs 14 species/m²), abundance (276 vs 170 plants/m²) and biomass (88 vs 35 g/m²) were higher in unfertilized headlands. Species richness, plant numbers and total weed biomass decreased significantly with distance from the field boundary in fertilized plots. Some individual species followed the same trend, others were more abundant in the fertilized plots and some showed no overall effect of treatment. Thirty-six plots were established within headlands, half were fertilized and half unfertilized, no herbicides were applied. Above-ground weed biomass and the number of individuals of each species were sampled in quadrats (0.5 x 2 m) at distances of 0.25, 1.25 and 2.25 m from the boundary in August.


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