Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity

Date:
February 4, 2014
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
The increasing use of chemical herbicides is often blamed for the declining plant biodiversity in farms. However, other factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important to species diversity, according to researchers.

The increasing use of chemical herbicides is often blamed for the declining plant biodiversity in farms. However, other factors beyond herbicide exposure may be more important to species diversity, according to Penn State researchers.

If herbicides are a key factor in the declining diversity, then thriving species would be more tolerant to widely used herbicides than rare or declining species, according to J. Franklin Egan,research ecologist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service.

"Many ecotoxicology studies have tested the response of various wild plant species to low dose herbicide exposures, but it is difficult to put these findings in context," said Egan. "Our approach was to compare the herbicide tolerances of plant species that are common and plant species that are rare in an intensively farmed region. We found that rare and common plant species had roughly similar tolerances to three commonly used herbicides."

This could mean that herbicides may not have a persistent effect in shaping plant communities.

The researchers, who report their findings in the online version of the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, said that over the past several decades, in the same time that the use of herbicides was on the rise, other factors such as the simplification of crop rotations, segregation of crop and livestock and increasing mechanization have also been rapidly evolving. In addition, the clearing of woodlots, hedgerows, pastures and wetlands to make way for bigger fields has continued apace and resulted in habitat loss.

While the findings are preliminary, the approach could be effective in clarifying the implications of herbicide pollution for plant conservation, Egan said.

"These findings are not an invitation to use herbicides recklessly," he said. "There are many good reasons to reduce agriculture's reliance on chemical weed control. But, for the objective of plant species conservation, other strategies like preserving farmland habitats including woodlots, pastures and riparian buffers may be more effective than trying to reduce herbicide use."

Egan worked with David Mortensen, professor of weed and applied plant ecology, and Ian Graham, an undergraduate student in plant science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. The original article was written by Jennifer Lynch. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Franklin Egan, Ian M. Graham, David A. Mortensen. A comparison of the herbicide tolerances of rare and common plants in an agricultural landscape. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/etc.2491

Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204102058.htm>.
Penn State. (2014, February 4). Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204102058.htm
Penn State. "Herbicides may not be sole cause of declining plant diversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204102058.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins