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Resource acquisition and ecosystem services provided by bi-specific cover crop mixtures

Tribouillois H., Bedoussac L., Couëdel A., Justes E.. 2021. Legume Perspectives (20) : p. 17-21.

Multi-service cover crops are used to provide ecosystem services, particularly for nitrogen management, such as ¿nitrate catching¿ and "green manuring" effects. Sowing cover crop mixtures including legumes and non-legumes have the advantage of combining the provision of both services related to N management thanks to phenomena of niche complementarity and/or facilitation in the capture of abiotic resources. When complementarities are optimized, these species mixtures can achieve both effects similarly to those provided by the average of mono specific cover crops, especially for nitrate catching. In addition, the complementarity for the access to light thanks to species having different aerial architectures and contrasted temporal complementarities enable them to obtain services in relay, in particular in the case of the longest fallow periods over mid-Spring. However, in order to achieve the targeted services, attention must be paid to limit competition between species in particular during early stages.

Mots-clés : plante de couverture; mélange de semences; services écosystémiques; couvert; engrais vert; azote; nitrate; compétition interspécifique

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