pp 1-20 | Cite as

Potential Role of Intercropping in Maintaining and Facilitating Environmental Sustainability

  • Hassan Awaad
  • Nehal El-Naggar
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series


Intercropping plays an important role in increasing productivity and achieving sustainability in agriculture and animal production by accounting for social, economic, and environmental considerations. This approach should be the basis of any economic construction, particularly in developing countries such as Egypt. Intercropping improves the use efficiency of land and available resources (water, light, and nutrients) through the different stages of growth. Furthermore, intercropping is a proven method to deter pests, encourage the proliferation of their natural enemies, reduce disease and insect injury, and inhibit weed growth through a “push–pull” system, making it an important aspect of sustainable agriculture. Integration and facilitation of available resources can occur through the different stages of growth in several intercropping systems. Also, the benefits from intercropping for a unit area can be maximized through the activity of microorganisms and nitrogen fixation to obtain a land equivalent ratio greater than 1. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) molecular marker profiling has been used to fingerprint the 16S rRNA gene and identify the relative abundance of bacterial populations in the rhizosphere of intercropping patterns. This can reduce nitrate washing, as well as the risk of groundwater contamination by nitrates.


Crop productivity Environmental resources Intercropping patterns Nitrogen fixation Pest control Sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Crop Science Department, Faculty of AgricultureZagazig UniversityZagazigEgypt

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