Biomass production and carbon/nitrogen ratio influence ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems with cover crops has been a successful strategy to augment ecosystem services from agriculture, and increasing diversity of cover crops may provide even greater benefits. Productivity and ecosystem services from multi-species cover crop mixtures were measured in a 2-yr field study of 18 cover crop treatments preceding conventionally tilled corn in central Pennsylvania. Increasing the number of species in a stand increased cover crop biomass (R2 = 0.15). However, mixing cover crop species that were complementary in phenology or N acquisition strategy did not result in mixtures that produced more biomass than high yielding monocultures. Increasing cover crop biomass was positively correlated with several ecosystem services, namely weed suppression, prevention of nitrate leaching, and aboveground biomass N, but negatively impacted inorganic N availability and corn yield in the subsequent cropping season. The cover crop C/N ratio was another determinant of ecosystem services positively related to nitrate leaching prevention, but negatively related to inorganic N availability and corn yield. This study supports the long-held assumption that increasing biomass can enhance certain ecosystem services from cover crops; however, because the mixtures tested did not produce more biomass than high yielding monocultures, opportunities to increase biomassdriven services with mixtures may be limited. The correlation between biomass C/N ratio and ecosystem services in this study also indicates that functional traits, as opposed to biomass alone, will be important for predicting ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-52
Number of pages14
JournalAgronomy Journal
Volume108
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Fingerprint

seed mixtures
cover crops
ecosystem services
carbon nitrogen ratio
biomass production
biomass
corn
leaching
nitrates
agroecosystems
aboveground biomass
phenology
weed control
agriculture

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

@article{7cda9eadf93a4b6c97bb127a58e38bdf,
title = "Biomass production and carbon/nitrogen ratio influence ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures",
abstract = "Increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems with cover crops has been a successful strategy to augment ecosystem services from agriculture, and increasing diversity of cover crops may provide even greater benefits. Productivity and ecosystem services from multi-species cover crop mixtures were measured in a 2-yr field study of 18 cover crop treatments preceding conventionally tilled corn in central Pennsylvania. Increasing the number of species in a stand increased cover crop biomass (R2 = 0.15). However, mixing cover crop species that were complementary in phenology or N acquisition strategy did not result in mixtures that produced more biomass than high yielding monocultures. Increasing cover crop biomass was positively correlated with several ecosystem services, namely weed suppression, prevention of nitrate leaching, and aboveground biomass N, but negatively impacted inorganic N availability and corn yield in the subsequent cropping season. The cover crop C/N ratio was another determinant of ecosystem services positively related to nitrate leaching prevention, but negatively related to inorganic N availability and corn yield. This study supports the long-held assumption that increasing biomass can enhance certain ecosystem services from cover crops; however, because the mixtures tested did not produce more biomass than high yielding monocultures, opportunities to increase biomassdriven services with mixtures may be limited. The correlation between biomass C/N ratio and ecosystem services in this study also indicates that functional traits, as opposed to biomass alone, will be important for predicting ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures.",
author = "Finney, {Denise M.} and White, {Charles Macaulay} and Kaye, {Jason Philip}",
year = "2016",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.2134/agronj15.0182",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "108",
pages = "39--52",
journal = "Agronomy Journal",
issn = "0002-1962",
publisher = "American Society of Agronomy",
number = "1",

}

Biomass production and carbon/nitrogen ratio influence ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures. / Finney, Denise M.; White, Charles Macaulay; Kaye, Jason Philip.

In: Agronomy Journal, Vol. 108, No. 1, 01.01.2016, p. 39-52.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Biomass production and carbon/nitrogen ratio influence ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures

AU - Finney, Denise M.

AU - White, Charles Macaulay

AU - Kaye, Jason Philip

PY - 2016/1/1

Y1 - 2016/1/1

N2 - Increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems with cover crops has been a successful strategy to augment ecosystem services from agriculture, and increasing diversity of cover crops may provide even greater benefits. Productivity and ecosystem services from multi-species cover crop mixtures were measured in a 2-yr field study of 18 cover crop treatments preceding conventionally tilled corn in central Pennsylvania. Increasing the number of species in a stand increased cover crop biomass (R2 = 0.15). However, mixing cover crop species that were complementary in phenology or N acquisition strategy did not result in mixtures that produced more biomass than high yielding monocultures. Increasing cover crop biomass was positively correlated with several ecosystem services, namely weed suppression, prevention of nitrate leaching, and aboveground biomass N, but negatively impacted inorganic N availability and corn yield in the subsequent cropping season. The cover crop C/N ratio was another determinant of ecosystem services positively related to nitrate leaching prevention, but negatively related to inorganic N availability and corn yield. This study supports the long-held assumption that increasing biomass can enhance certain ecosystem services from cover crops; however, because the mixtures tested did not produce more biomass than high yielding monocultures, opportunities to increase biomassdriven services with mixtures may be limited. The correlation between biomass C/N ratio and ecosystem services in this study also indicates that functional traits, as opposed to biomass alone, will be important for predicting ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures.

AB - Increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems with cover crops has been a successful strategy to augment ecosystem services from agriculture, and increasing diversity of cover crops may provide even greater benefits. Productivity and ecosystem services from multi-species cover crop mixtures were measured in a 2-yr field study of 18 cover crop treatments preceding conventionally tilled corn in central Pennsylvania. Increasing the number of species in a stand increased cover crop biomass (R2 = 0.15). However, mixing cover crop species that were complementary in phenology or N acquisition strategy did not result in mixtures that produced more biomass than high yielding monocultures. Increasing cover crop biomass was positively correlated with several ecosystem services, namely weed suppression, prevention of nitrate leaching, and aboveground biomass N, but negatively impacted inorganic N availability and corn yield in the subsequent cropping season. The cover crop C/N ratio was another determinant of ecosystem services positively related to nitrate leaching prevention, but negatively related to inorganic N availability and corn yield. This study supports the long-held assumption that increasing biomass can enhance certain ecosystem services from cover crops; however, because the mixtures tested did not produce more biomass than high yielding monocultures, opportunities to increase biomassdriven services with mixtures may be limited. The correlation between biomass C/N ratio and ecosystem services in this study also indicates that functional traits, as opposed to biomass alone, will be important for predicting ecosystem services from cover crop mixtures.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84953775618&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84953775618&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2134/agronj15.0182

DO - 10.2134/agronj15.0182

M3 - Article

VL - 108

SP - 39

EP - 52

JO - Agronomy Journal

JF - Agronomy Journal

SN - 0002-1962

IS - 1

ER -