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The Ecology of Intercropping - John H. Vandermeer

The Ecology of Intercropping

Paperback

Published: 19th October 1992
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The practice of growing two or more crops together is widespread throughout the tropics and is becoming increasingly practised in temperate agriculture. The benefits of nutrient exchange, reduced weed competition and pathogen control can generate substantial improvements in growth and yield. In this book John Vandermeer, a leading worker on the subject, shows how classical ecological principles, especially those relating to competition and population ecology, can be applied to intercropping. Despite the large amount of research activity directed towards the subject over the last 20 years, the practice of intercropping has, until now, received very little serious academic attention. The Ecology of Intercropping is unique in approaching the question of intercropping from a theoretical point of view. In addition the details of the approach will take as their starting point well-accepted ecological theory. Using this basis the author shows how the approach can be used to design and evaluate intercropping systems to improve agricultural yields.

' ... an important step in the development of a theoretical framework for evaluating and designing intercrops.' Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Prefacep. ix
Introduction: intercrops and ecologyp. 1
The limited intentions of this bookp. 4
The nature of ecological theoryp. 5
Some questions of terminologyp. 6
Overview of the general theoryp. 9
Future use of intercropsp. 13
Structure of the bookp. 13
The measurement of intercrop performancep. 15
The bases for comparisonp. 15
The problem of population density and planting designp. 15
The yield setp. 18
Criteria for intercrop advantagep. 19
The land equivalent ratiop. 19
Other criteria of successp. 23
Some recurrent statistical problemsp. 26
The competitive production principlep. 29
The basic ideap. 29
Some interesting antecedentsp. 33
Niche theory, effect-response and yield setsp. 34
Competitive production and environmental grainp. 41
Applying the principle in naturep. 41
Summary and conclusionsp. 44
Facilitationp. 46
The basic ideap. 46
Effect-response and the yield setp. 47
Niche theoryp. 50
Competition and facilitation togetherp. 50
The question of grainp. 52
The potential setp. 52
The environmental grainp. 53
More on the potential setp. 56
The potential set, adaptive function and environmental grain - the detailsp. 58
The range of systems and the potential setp. 58
The adaptive functionp. 59
Maximizing yield on the potential setp. 62
The shape of the potential setp. 64
Mechanisms of the competitive production principlep. 68
Partitioning the light environmentp. 70
Partitioning soil resourcesp. 76
The interaction of soil factors and lightp. 84
The environments modified to produce facilitationp. 86
Nitrogenp. 86
Waterp. 89
Non-nitrogen nutrientsp. 91
Protection from pestsp. 93
The disruptive crop hypothesisp. 95
The enemies hypothesisp. 100
Trap-croppingp. 100
The detection of facilitationp. 103
Special problems in intercrops involving perennialsp. 106
Introductionp. 106
Young perennial plantation with an annual intercropp. 109
The light environment in a mature plantationp. 111
Some qualitative featuresp. 111
Diffuse radiationp. 116
The shadow of a canopyp. 118
The shadow with a filtering canopyp. 118
Time in the shadowp. 120
Potential applicationsp. 124
Weeds and intercropsp. 127
Competitive interactions among three speciesp. 129
Weed control as indirect facilitationp. 134
Summary and conclusionsp. 138
Appendix Ap. 139
Appendix Bp. 140
Variability and intercropsp. 141
Problems of measurement and evaluationp. 142
Variability, competition and facilitationp. 144
Risk and facilitationp. 153
A simple examplep. 154
The adaptive function under risk minimizationp. 155
The optimization problemp. 157
Appendix Ap. 161
Planning intercrops - a phenomenological approachp. 162
Competition theory for even-aged standsp. 163
A computer-based linear methodologyp. 166
The basic ideap. 166
Stabilizing the yieldsp. 167
Estimating parametersp. 170
An examplep. 171
Planning intercrops - a mechanistic approachp. 176
Introductionp. 176
Mechanisms of reduced competitionp. 177
Partitioning the light environmentp. 177
Partitioning the resource environmentp. 179
Mechanisms of facilitationp. 179
Pest and natural enemies dynamicsp. 180
Trap-cropsp. 182
Planning for weed controlp. 185
Summary and conclusionsp. 188
Critical research directions for the futurep. 189
Dynamic plant growth and interaction modelsp. 189
The question of mechanizationp. 199
The question of genetic improvementp. 202
Referencesp. 204
Author indexp. 227
Subject indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521346894
ISBN-10: 0521346894
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 19th October 1992
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41