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The influence of landscape composition and configuration on crop yield resilience
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  • John Redhead,
  • Tom Oliver,
  • Ben Woodcock,
  • Richard Pywell
John Redhead
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
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Tom Oliver
University of Reading
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Ben Woodcock
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
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Richard Pywell
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
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Abstract

A key goal of sustainable agriculture is to produce sufficient food whilst minimising environmental damage. To achieve this we need to understand the role of agricultural landscapes in providing diverse ecosystem services and how these affect crop production and resilience, i.e. maintaining crop yields despite environmental perturbation. We used ten years of English wheat yield data to derive three metrics of resilience (relative function, yield stability and resistance to an extreme event). We explored their relationships with aspects of landscape composition and configuration (10km × 10km scale) known to affect ecosystem service components (e.g. beneficial invertebrates) and delivery (e.g. pest control). We found that resilience was uniformly enhanced in landscapes with higher coverage of semi-natural habitats. However, this was most pronounced for resilience metrics derived over shorter timescales (e.g. resistance) and metrics showed contrasting responses to landscape configuration, suggesting trade-offs if managing landscapes for resilience over shorter vs. longer timescales.