Polyculture

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Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture. It includes multi-cropping, intercropping, companion planting, beneficial weeds, and alley cropping. It is the raising at the same time and place of more than one species of plant or animal.

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Polyculture, though it often requires more labor, has several advantages over monoculture:

  • The diversity of crops avoids the susceptibility of monocultures to disease. For example, a study in China reported in Nature showed that planting several varieties of rice in the same field increased yields by 89%, largely because of a dramatic (94%) decrease in the incidence of disease, which made pesticides redundant.[1]

Polyculture is one of the principles of permaculture.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ (August 17, 2000.) Genetic Diversity and Disease Control in Rice Nature 406, 718 - 722.

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