COPYRIGHT YEAR

2009

AUTHORS

Heike Knörzer, Wilhelm Claupein, Simone Graeff-Hönninger, Pu Wang, Buqing Guo

TITLE

The Rediscovery of Intercropping in China: A Traditional Cropping System for Future Chinese Agriculture – A Review

ABSTRACT

Intercropping has a 1000-year old history in Chinese agriculture and is still widespread in modern Chinese agriculture. Nowadays, agricultural systems in China are stigmatized to exhaust high levels of input factors like N fertilizer or irrigation water and to contribute severely to environmental problems like desertification, river eutrophication, soil degradation and greenhouse effect. In this context, monocropping systems have to be revised and may not be the best performing systems any more, considering sustainability, income security and nutritional diversity in rural areas. Therefore, intercropping systems offer alternatives for a more sustainable agriculture with reduced input and stabilized yield. Especially in the last decade this cropping system has been rediscovered by scientific research. Studies showed increased yield of maize and wheat intercropped with legumes: chickpea facilitates P uptake by associated wheat, maize intercropped with peanut improves iron nutrition and faba bean enhances N uptake when intercropped with maize. China’s intercropping area is the largest in the world. Nevertheless, there are only few international studies dealing with intercropping distribution, patterns and crops. Most studies deal with nutrient-use efficiency and availability. This study is a first approach to gain an overview of intercropping history, basic factors about interspecific facilitation and competition and distribution of Chinese intercropping systems. Finally, four intercropping regions can be distinguished and are explicitly described with their intercropping intensity, potential and conditions.

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30 TRIPLES      25 PREDICATES      27 URIs      13 LITERALS

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1 book-chapters:45c4421af0071dfb6ffb82efc892ded4 sg:abstract Abstract Intercropping has a 1000-year old history in Chinese agriculture and is still widespread in modern Chinese agriculture. Nowadays, agricultural systems in China are stigmatized to exhaust high levels of input factors like N fertilizer or irrigation water and to contribute severely to environmental problems like desertification, river eutrophication, soil degradation and greenhouse effect. In this context, monocropping systems have to be revised and may not be the best performing systems any more, considering sustainability, income security and nutritional diversity in rural areas. Therefore, intercropping systems offer alternatives for a more sustainable agriculture with reduced input and stabilized yield. Especially in the last decade this cropping system has been rediscovered by scientific research. Studies showed increased yield of maize and wheat intercropped with legumes: chickpea facilitates P uptake by associated wheat, maize intercropped with peanut improves iron nutrition and faba bean enhances N uptake when intercropped with maize. China’s intercropping area is the largest in the world. Nevertheless, there are only few international studies dealing with intercropping distribution, patterns and crops. Most studies deal with nutrient-use efficiency and availability. This study is a first approach to gain an overview of intercropping history, basic factors about interspecific facilitation and competition and distribution of Chinese intercropping systems. Finally, four intercropping regions can be distinguished and are explicitly described with their intercropping intensity, potential and conditions.
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