The Ecology of Intercropping

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The practice of growing two or more crops together is widespread throughout the tropics and is becoming increasingly practised in temperate agriculture. The benefits of nutrient exchange, reduced weed competition and pathogen control can generate substantial improvements in growth and yield. In this book John Vandermeer, a leading worker on the subject, shows how classical ecological principles, especially those relating to competition and population ecology, can be applied to intercropping. Despite the large amount of research activity directed towards the subject over the last 20 years, the practice of intercropping has, until now, received very little serious academic attention. The Ecology of Intercropping is unique in approaching the question of intercropping from a theoretical point of view. In addition the details of the approach will take as their starting point well-accepted ecological theory. Using this basis the author shows how the approach can be used to design and evaluate intercropping systems to improve agricultural yields.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...marks an important step in the development of a theoretical framework for evaluating and designing intercrops." Ecology and Evolution

"...deserves widespread attention." Ecology

"...the author has managed to provide reasons (1) for the ecologist to consider intercropping as one of many methods for testing ecological theory, and (2) for the intercropping researcher to consider an ecological framework, in this well organized publication. The book should be of interest to both ecologists and intercropping researchers." M. P. Schellenberg, The Canadian Field-Naturalist

The practice of growing two or more crops together is widespread throughout the tropics and is expanding into temperate agriculture. Here, the author approaches the subject from a theoretical point of view, demonstrating how to design and evaluate intercropping systems to improve agricultural yields. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521346894
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction: intercrops and ecology; 2. The measurement of intercrop performance; 3. The competitive production principle; 4. Facilitation; 5. Mechanisms of the competitive production principle; 6. The environments modified to produce facilitation; 7. Special problems in intercrops involving perennials; 8. Weeds and intercrops; 9. Variability and intercrops; 10. Planning intercrops - a phenomenological approach; 11. Planning intercrops - a mechanistic approach; 12. Critical research directions for the future; References; Author index; Subject index.

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