Species diversity in dryland and irrigated agroecosystems and marginal grassland ecosystem in dry tropics
This study was carried out to compare composition, density and diversity of species between dryland and irrigated agroecosystems and between agroecosystems and the marginal grassland ecosystem in dry tropics. Main management characteristics of these ecosystems are: (1) Dryland cropping, low fertilizer input, rainfed (no irrigation) and seed sown rice; (2) Irrigated cropping, high fertilizer, water (irrigation) inputs, flooded rice by transplanting; (3) Grassland, post-rainy season herbage removal and light grazing. All ecosystems showed comparable number (12–14) of species in winter, but in the rainy season higher number of species (21) were recorded in the grassland ecosystem. The species composition of the grassland was entirely different from both agroecosystems (similarity <1%). Dryland and irrigated agroecosystems showed only 25% and 38% similarity with each other during winter and rainy cropping seasons, respectively. Occurrence of few grasses (e.g., Cynodon dactylon, Dichanthium annulatum and Sporobolus diander) in the agroecosystems depends on the propagules dispersed from the marginal grassland. The change from dryland to irrigated agroecosystem involved elimination of 4–5 species during both cropping seasons and simultaneous recruitment of 2 new species in winter and 6 species in rainy season. In both agroecosystems, forbs (C3 type) dominated over graminoids (C4 type) during winter season but the dominance was reversed during the warm, rainy season. During winter some forbs were abundant in both agroecosystems due to their tolerance to widely varying moisture conditions (e.g., Chenopodium album), others were dominant in either drier soil conditions (e.g., Anagallis arvensis in dryland) or wet conditions (e.g., Melilotus indica and Phalaris minor in irrigated). Higher species diversity occurred in the grassland relative to both agroecosystems. The seasonal trends of species diversity and species evenness were broadly similar in both agroecosystems but irrigated agroecosystem exhibited relatively higher species diversity. The changes in species composition and species diversity in agroecosystems are mainly attributed to differences in water management. The water management in irrigated agroecosystem tends to reduce weed diversity but leads to the dominance of some potentially noxious weeds (e.g., Phalaris minor).
KeywordsAgroecosystems Forbs Graminoids Similarity Weeds
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