center for synthesis
and analysis of biodiversity

A centre created and developed by the FRB
Disentangling the role of anthropic DISturbances and eCological processes on weed community assembly

 Sabrina Gaba - INRA (Dijon, France)

Postdoctorate: Bérenger Bourgeois

11 participants: Laura Armengot ; Florent Bonneu - Université d'Avignon (France) ; Vincent Bretagnolle - CNRS (France) ; Jacques Caneill - INRA (Dijon, France) ; Joël Chadoeuf - INRA (Avignon, France) ; Guillaume Fried - ANSES (France) ; Santiago Poggio - Facultad de Agronomía (Buenos Aires, Argentine) ; Lucie Mahault ; François Munoz - CIRAD (France) ; Marie-Laure Navas - SupAgro, INRA (Montpellier, France) ; Jonathan Storkey - Rothamsted Research (UK) 

Discover the project on YouTube 



Designing cropping systems that maintain or increase yields while reducing the reliance on agro-chemical inputs is the main challenge that agriculture is facing today. Herbicides represent the majority of pesticides used in annual crops in many countries, making weed management one of the main obstacles to meeting this challenge. It is imperative, therefore, that the consequences of agricultural management on weed diversity/abundance and crop production are investigated in contrasting situations. However, despite an extensive literature, weed species assembly in agroecosystems remains to be fully understood.

Weed community assembly results from interactions between various ecological processes across a range of spatial and temporal scales and management through disturbances regimes and resources (e.g. nitrogen and water) levels at the field scale. DISCO-WEED aims to provide a conceptual framework based on ecology and agronomy to quantify both the relative contribution of agricultural and ecological processes in weed species assembly and their impact on weed-crop interactions. Our consortium partners combine expertise in agronomy, ecology, and spatial statistics. DISCO-WEED will use a large number of databases, spanning several countries and weed species pools, gathering data on weed flora, agricultural practices and for some crop yield, collected at all spatial scales from 1m² to the national scale over nearly 4,000 agricultural fields these last 15 years.

Weed, agroecosystem, community, metacommunity, plant functional traits, competition, spatial dispersion, seed persistence, disturbances, assembly rules


The group published at the end of 2017 a Database of weeds in cultivation fields of France and UK, with ecological and biogeographical information

François Munoz, Guillaume Fried, Laura Armengot, Bérenger Bourgeois, Vincent Bretagnolle, Joël Chadoeuf, … Sabrina Gaba. (2017). Database of weeds in cultivation fields of France and UK, with ecological and biogeographical information (Version 1.0.0) [Data set]. Zenodo. 

Link to the database here

On the 11th December 2017 the group organized a workshop with the Mixed Technological Networks FlorAd and AgroforesterieS and the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB). This day was intended to present an overview of the applications of the functional approach in large crops, vineyards and agroforestry systems.

The research presented at this meeting is synthesized in a booklet in which you will also find results of the CESAB DISCOWEED group's research such as discussions on the functional characteristics of weeds versus grassland species.

This booklet includwa information on the use of functional traits for sustainable agricultural land management based on competition and the valuation of ecosystem services.

click here to download the booklet (it is in french)

Link to Publications