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.

Related Articles


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 December 22, 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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