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Journal Articles (Review Article) Agronomy Year : 2022

The Effects of Cover Crops on Multiple Environmental Sustainability Indicators—A Review

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Abstract

Cover crops have been introduced in European agricultural systems due to their multiple agro-ecological services and environmental benefits, which do not necessarily affect profitability. Our paper follows a systematic literature review approach to highlight the results of 51 studies on the effects of adopting cover crops. We used a list of 41 agri-environmental sustainability indicators to present the different impacts of cover crops in European pedoclimatic situations. Herein, we review the positive effects of cover crops on agri-environmental sustainability (e.g., reduced soil erosion and nitrate leaching, higher carbon sequestration and soil quality, biodiversity enhancement, and reduced mineral fertilizer requirement), but also the more variable effects associated with the use of cover crops (e.g., management and interest for farm economics, nutrient and water competition with cash crops, and improved GHG balance, even if N20 emissions are slightly increased). Our review highlights these synergies among the sustainability indicators. More research data are needed on the multiple effects of cover crops in the context of diverse site-specific conditions and farm-management practices, especially between the traditional positive effects of cover crops (i.e., soil C sequestration and fertilizer savings) and their effects on climate change (i.e., GHG net balance and potential effects on global warming).
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Dates and versions

hal-03762045 , version 1 (31-08-2022)

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Clement Riviere, Audrey Bethinger, Jacques-Eric Bergez. The Effects of Cover Crops on Multiple Environmental Sustainability Indicators—A Review. Agronomy, 2022, 12 (9), pp.1-17. ⟨10.3390/agronomy12092011⟩. ⟨hal-03762045⟩
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