Soil management shapes ecosystem service provision and trade-offs in agricultural landscapes

Proc Biol Sci. 2016 Aug 31;283(1837):20161369. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1369.


Agroecosystems are principally managed to maximize food provisioning even if they receive a large array of supporting and regulating ecosystem services (ESs). Hence, comprehensive studies investigating the effects of local management and landscape composition on the provision of and trade-offs between multiple ESs are urgently needed. We explored the effects of conservation tillage, nitrogen fertilization and landscape composition on six ESs (crop production, disease control, soil fertility, water quality regulation, weed and pest control) in winter cereals. Conservation tillage enhanced soil fertility and pest control, decreased water quality regulation and weed control, without affecting crop production and disease control. Fertilization only influenced crop production by increasing grain yield. Landscape intensification reduced the provision of disease and pest control. We also found tillage and landscape composition to interactively affect water quality regulation and weed control. Under N fertilization, conventional tillage resulted in more trade-offs between ESs than conservation tillage. Our results demonstrate that soil management and landscape composition affect the provision of several ESs and that soil management potentially shapes the trade-offs between them.

Keywords: agriculture intensification; conservation tillage; crop yield; nitrogen fertilization; pest control; soil fertility.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Ecosystem*
  • Soil*
  • Weed Control


  • Soil

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.4462q