The role of arable weed seeds for agroecosystem functioning

A.C. Franke, L.A.P. Lotz, W.J. van der Burg, L.S. van Overbeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


A literature study was conducted to gather knowledge on the impact of weed seeds on agroecosystem functioning other than effects related to the production of weed seedlings and plants. The results of the review suggested that a larger and more diverse weed seedbank can contribute to the biodiversity of various groups of macrofauna and microbiota, with a positive or negative impact on the agroecosystem. However, relationships between weed seed availability and functional biodiversity in the field have generally not been established, with the exception of case studies of seeds sustaining populations of granivorous farmland birds or acting as reservoirs and vectors of plant pathogens. To value the contribution of different weed seeds to sustaining populations of functional biota, more detailed information on their relationships with seeds is essential. Hypotheses and related questions that can be used to explore the impact of weed seeds on functional biodiversity have been identified. The identification of weed seed species that are a key to sustaining functional biota may lead to a weed management strategy aiming to minimise the damage of weeds to crops while taking the alternative ecological roles of weed seeds into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-141
JournalWeed Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • cucumber mosaic-virus
  • abutilon-theophrasti seeds
  • chickweed stellaria-media
  • herbicide-tolerant crops
  • sp radicis-lycopersici
  • syringae pv. tagetis
  • fungal endophytes
  • carabid beetles
  • festuca-arundinacea
  • northern europe

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