Comparing performance of crop species mixtures and pure stands

Wopke van der Werf*, Lizhen Zhang, Chunjie Li, Ping Chen, Chen Feng, Zhan Xu, Chaochun Zhang, Chunfeng Gu, Lammert Bastiaans, David Makowski, Tjeerdjan Stomph

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Intercropping is the planned cultivation of species mixtures on agricultural land. Intercropping has many attributes that make it attractive for developing a more sustainable agriculture, such as high yield, high resource use efficiency, lower input requirements, natural suppression of pests, pathogens and weeds, and building a soil with more organic carbon and nitrogen. Information is needed which species combinations perform best under different circumstances and which management is suitable to bring out the best from intercropping in a given production situation. The literature is replete with case studies on intercropping from across the globe, but evidence synthesis is needed to make this information accessible. Meta-analysis requires a careful choice of metric that is appropriate for answering the question at hand, and which lends itself for a robust meta-analysis. This paper reviews some metrics that may be used in the quantitative synthesis of literature data on intercropping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Indicators
  • Intercropping
  • Metaanalysis
  • Metrics
  • Species mixtures


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