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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2022, Vol. 21 Issue (8): 2345-2356    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(21)63802-9
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Improved crop protection and biodiversity of the agroecosystem by reduced tillage in rice paddy fields in southern China
LU Qi-qi, SONG Yuan-feng, PAN Ke-qing, LI Yun, TANG Ming-xin, ZHONG Guo-hua, LIU Jie
Key Laboratory of Crop Integrated Pest Management in South China, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/Key Laboratory of Natural Pesticide and Chemical Biology, Ministry of Education/South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510640, P.R.China
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近几十年来,保护性农业(conservation agriculture,CA)因其有利于农业可持续性发展而获得广泛推广,但其对田间生物多样性和作物生产力的综合影响尚不清楚。本研究通过调查传统耕作(conventional tillage,CT),免耕(no tillageNT)和少耕(reduced tillageRT)三种耕作方式下稻田生物多样性和病、虫、草害等指标发现,降低耕作强度能显著降低稻田虫害、病害和杂草的发生,同时增加田间捕食性天敌数量,进而提高水稻产量。连续两年的调查结果显示,在CT模式下稻田主要害虫如稻飞虱和福寿螺发生量分别为74.78和9.91 m-2,而在RT模式分别为14.69和5.16 m-2,发生量显著降低,并且在RT模式下病害发生率和杂草密度也均有明显下降。同时,实施RT的稻田水稻产量(7477.01 kg ha-1)相比于CT(6489.19 kg ha-1)增加15.22%。此外,在CT模式下稻田害虫捕食性天敌的平均密度为11.22 m-2,而RT和NT模式下分别为19.7320.48,虫口数显著增加,同时丰富度也显著增加,说明CA对促进农业生态系统生物多样性有重要作用。综上所述,实施RT有利于水稻病虫草害防治,提高水稻产量和农业生态系统可持续性


Agricultural sustainability has benefited from the broad adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) practices for decades, in which the reduction of mechanical disturbances to soil (also known as reduced tillage, RT) is one of the most essential principles for CA implementation.  Many studies have recommended the advantages of CA practices in the promotion of biodiversity, but the integrated impacts on crop productivity and biodiversity remain unclear.  Since CA has been applied in rice production in the subtropical area of southern China for several years, the effects of CA, particularly the RT methods, need to be evaluated for the local and long-term adoption.  In this study, we established an integrated network to illustrate how the reduction of tillage intensity influenced organisms including invertebrates (such as rice pests and their predators), pathogens and weeds, and then led to an impact on rice yield.  The two-year study demonstrated that major rice pests, such as rice planthoppers, stem borers and apple snails, were effectively controlled by RT practice.  Similarly, the occurrence of common diseases declined with less tillage.  Compared to the conventional tillage (CT) treatment, the density of weeds in paddy fields deceased significantly in the RT treatment.  In addition, the diversity and richness of pest predators increased remarkably in paddy fields where either reduced or no tillage was applied, which highlighted the significance of a CA strategy for the promotion of biodiversity in the agroecosystem.  More importantly, the rice yield gradually increased after the two-year reduction of tillage.  Taken together, our results suggest that the reduction of tillage intensity is beneficial for the protection of rice crops from various pests, and facilitates the sustainability of the agroecosystem and rice yield, which provides a solid basis and novel insights for the establishment of sustainable agroecosystems by CA-related practices in rice production in southern China.

Keywords:  conservation agriculture        reduced tillage        biodiversity        pest control        sustainable agriculture  
Received: 08 March 2021   Accepted: 12 July 2021
Fund: This work was supported by the Guangdong Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Project, China (GDAPC-CS1414 and MYWRZL-ZX1908).

About author:  LU Qi-qi, E-mail:, Mobile: +86-13422056976; Correspondence ZHONG Guo-hua, Tel: +86-20-85280308, E-mail:; LIU Jie, Tel: +86-20-85280308, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

LU Qi-qi, SONG Yuan-feng, PAN Ke-qing, LI Yun, TANG Ming-xin, ZHONG Guo-hua, LIU Jie. 2022. Improved crop protection and biodiversity of the agroecosystem by reduced tillage in rice paddy fields in southern China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(8): 2345-2356.

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