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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Higher plant species richness and vegetation cover found in ‘spray windows’ than in the sprayed part of the field centre of cereal fields in western Germany

Published source details

Wehke S., Zoldan J.W., Frankenberg T. & Ruthsatz B. (2006) Possibilities of farming to promote weed flora in the western Hunsrück (Germany). Pages 57-65 in: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Ökologisierung der Landwirtschaft - Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen und praktische Erfahrungen – Beiträge aus dem Arbeitskreis. Mitteilungen der Biologischen Bundesanstalt für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Berlin.


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 study in 2000-2001 on cereal fields of three different farms in western Germany (Wehke et al. 2006) found that both plant species richness and vegetation cover was higher in plots not sprayed with herbicide (spray windows) than in the sprayed part of the field centre. The increase in species richness in spray windows was similar for all five different plant categories considered. Whereas vegetation cover of herbs increased from 10% (field centre) to 50% (spray windows), no such increase was observed for grass cover. Note that no statistical analyses were performed on these data. Spray windows were created as unsprayed plots in the centre of arable fields on one integrated and two conventionally managed farms. Plant species richness and vegetation cover were recorded in both ‘spray windows’ and the sprayed part of the field. Plants were categorized as belonging to five different groups: Red-listed species, declining species, unthreatened arable weeds, arable ruderal species and non-arable ruderal species. Information about crop rotation and herbicide application was obtained directly from the farmers.