Management regimes and farming practices enhancing plant species richness on ditch banks

A. G. E. Manhoudt, A. J. Visser, G. R. de Snoo

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Plant species richness of ditch banks under different fanning practices and management regimes was compared. To this end, species richness was inventoried on ditch banks on Dutch conventional and organic farms and on a number of experimental farms. Plant species richness was significantly higher on organic than conventional farms. On farms that had converted to organic agriculture more than 5 years ago, even more species were found. On all farms, including the experimental farms, higher plant species numbers as well as a higher share of nitrogen poor plant species were found on sandy soils than on clay soils. Also a change in plant species composition was found based on the rarity index and the Ellenberg nitrogen values which was most marked in ecologically managed ditch banks on the experimental farms. The results, therefore, indicated that the ecological management might enhance plant species richness more than organic fanning alone in a 6-year period. In the context of environmental label, criteria designed to enhance on-farm biodiversity should therefore specify an ecological management on ditch banks buffered with a pesticide and nutrient free zone. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-358
Number of pages6
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • plant species richness Ellenberg values organic and conventional arable farming ditch bank management seminatural habitats arable farms vegetation diversity Agriculture Environmental Sciences & Ecology


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