Publications by authors named "Valentin Gilliaux"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Topsoil translocation in extensively managed arable field margins promotes plant species richness and threatened arable plant species.

J Environ Manage 2020 Apr 22;260:110126. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

University of Liege, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Biodiversity and Landscape Unit, Passage des Déportés 2, 5030, Gembloux, Belgium.

Since the 1950s, agriculture has intensified drastically, which has led to a significant biodiversity decline on arable lands. This decline was especially dramatic for segetal plant species, the specialist species of cereal fields. Due to the low population density and poor dispersal abilities of many segetal species, the recovery of species-rich fields may fail even though the environmental conditions are suitable. Therefore, conservation efforts including active restoration measures aimed at recovering segetal vegetation are needed. To this purpose, we propose to alleviate dispersal limitation by means of topsoil translocation from a species-rich donor arable field. At two receiver sites, we tested this technique using two topsoil-spreading densities, i.e. 2.5L/m and 5L/m in experimental plots (3 m). At one receiver site, we tested the impact of topsoil translocation from two different donor sites, while in the other receiver site one donor site was used. We compared plant species diversity and composition of treated plots with control plots as well as with the species composition of the donor sites (field survey) and their seed bank (greenhouse survey). Species richness was increased by topsoil spreading, including richness of threatened species. 33% and 71% of the threatened species were successfully translocated respectively at the two receiver sites. At one site, plant cover was also increased, including threatened species cover. Conversely, topsoil spreading did not promote pernicious species that could affect farmer acceptance negatively. Vegetation of translocated plots was more similar in terms of species composition to donor site seed banks than to donor site field survey. The higher spreading density led to increased species richness when seed bank in topsoil had lower density. Our results show that topsoil translocation can be a highly effective method for restoring threatened segetal plant communities in agricultural landscapes. Even when a full plant community was already present (Receiver 1) topsoil transfer led to a doubling in species richness. The seed bank surveys were a good indicator of plant community composition upon topsoil translocation in the field and are therefore advisable to implement in the project-planning phase to evaluate donor site potential. From our results, we recommend to spread soil at an overall rate of 500 seeds/m equivalent. Future studies need to assess the long-term fate of the translocated species as well as the impacts of soil harvests on the donor sites to establish sustainable use levels.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.110126DOI Listing
April 2020

Management of Grassland-like Wildflower Strips Sown on Nutrient-rich Arable Soils: The Role of Grass Density and Mowing Regime.

Environ Manage 2019 05 13;63(5):647-657. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Biodiversity and landscape Unit, University of Liege, Passage des Déportés 2, Gembloux, 5030, Belgium.

Wildflower strips (WS) are proposed in many European countries as a strategy to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services in arable fields. To create and maintain WS on nutrient-rich cultivated soils reveals challenging. Flowered species may be outcompeted by grasses due to high phosphorus content in soil. We studied during 5 years seed mixture (grass density in the seed mix) and mowing regime influenced the ability of WS to provide environmental benefits (flower provision for insects and landscape purposes, reduction of soil nutrient load) and respond to farmer concerns (noxious weed promotion, forage production). Lowered grass density increased flower abundance, but not diversity, only in the first 3 years. In the last 2 years mowing effects became determinant. Flower cover and richness were the highest under the twice-a-year mowing regime. This regime also increased forage quantity and quality. Flower colour diversity was conversely the highest where mowing occurred every two years. Potassium in the soil decreased under the twice-a-year mowing regime. Other nutrients were not affected. No management option kept noxious weed to an acceptable level after 5 years. This supports the need to test the efficacy of specific management practices such as selective clipping or spraying. Mowing WS twice a year was retained as the most favourable treatment to maintain species-rich strips with an abundant flower provision. It however implies to mow in late June, i.e. at the peak of insect abundance. It is therefore suggested to keep an unmown refuge zone when applying this management regime.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-019-01153-yDOI Listing
May 2019