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Intercropping with aromatic plants decreases herbivore abundance, species richness, and shifts arthropod community trophic structure

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 14:06 authored by Beizhou, S, Jie, Z, Natasha WigginsNatasha Wiggins, Yuncong, Y, Guangbo, T, Xusheng, S
Habitat management is important for the regulation of arthropod community structures to reduce pest populations in orchard ecosystems, but there is limited information on how intercropping with aromatic plants regulates arthropod community structure at trophic levels.Weselected four aromatic plants, Mentha canadensis L., Agerarum houstonianum Mill., Tagetes patula L., and Ocimum basilicum L., as intercrops in apple orchard to analyze the effects of intercropping on herbivore and predator abundance, species richness, and to measure the changes of trophic levels of the associated arthropod community. We found that intercropping with aromatic plants, compared with intercropping with natural herb vegetation, signiÞcantly reduced herbivore abundance and species richness by 25.62 and 11.6%, respectively. Intercropping signiÞcantly increased predator abundance and species richness by 18.78 and 15.6%, respectively, with predator abundance most notably affected during the ßowering period of aromatic plants. Furthermore, herbivore abundance and species richness were strongly negatively correlated with predator species richness. Intercropping affected herbivoreÐpredator dynamics, with an observed increase in the ratios of predator abundance and richness to herbivore abundance and richness. Our results indicate that intercropping with aromatic plants in apple orchards may play a role in the observed shift from a herbivore-dominated to a predator-dominated trophic structure, which is likely to have important ßow-on effects on arthropod community structure.


Publication title

Environmental Entomology










School of Natural Sciences


Entomological Society of America

Place of publication

10001 Derekwood Ln, Lanham, USA, MD, 20706

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 Entomological Society of America

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Horticultural crops not elsewhere classified

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