International Journal of
Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Biodivers. Conserv.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-243X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJBC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 625

Full Length Research Paper

The impact, uses, and ecological role of agrestals in two selected agroecosystems of Eastern India

Saurav Dwari and Amal Kumar Mondal*
Plant Taxonomy, Biosystematics and Molecular Taxonomy Laboratory, Department of Botany and Forestry, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore-721 102, West Bengal, India.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 May 2012
  •  Published: 31 October 2012

Abstract

 

Agricultural fields contain some small plants (weeds) which are known as agrestals. Generally, weeds are perceived as unwanted intruders in agro-ecosystems that compete for resources, reduce yields, and force the use of human labor and technology to prevent crop losses; but not all weeds are undesirable. Some weeds act as valuable agro-ecosystem components. They serve as nutritious foods, and important sources of fodder and medicine. Certain weeds may limit insect damage to crops. These beneficial effects indicate that weeds are not just agricultural pests, but can also play beneficial roles in the human society. So, the main objective of the study is to know about the beneficial agrestals of the district and their roles. Detailed field surveys were made in different blocks of the district to collect data about agrestals and their usefulness. These fields contain various medicinal plants such as Solanum nigrum L., Eclipta prostrata L. Oxalis corniculata L., Rungia pectinata L. etc., edible plant Amaranthus viridis L., ornamental plant Grangea maderaspatana (L.) Poir, and aromatic plant Trachyspermum copticum L. It is clear from the study that these two fields of the district contain some valuable agrestals which are used by the locals.

 

Key words: Agrestals, agro-ecosystems, weeds, food, fodder, medicine, insects, society.