Urban agriculture – Ecosystem and cultural functions of orchard vegetation
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Martínez Barroso, Petra
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The phenomenon of urban agriculture has lately become a much discussed issue. The idea of food production in cities seems to be in a striking contrast with the character of urban life, however, orchards are very suitable for urban agriculture by their nature. Apart from ensuring production functions (fruit production), they provide a whole range of ecosystem and cultural functions. Orchards are not a typical agricultural monoculture. Vegetation for non-production use is grown under the fruit trees. The orchard vegetation plays a role in anti-erosion function, which is mainly performed by perennial grasses (Lolium perenne, Poa pratensis etc.), it is a food source for pollinating insects (Medicago lupulina, Onobrychis viciifolia and Vicia sativa), and a habitat for medicinal herbs (Plantago lanceolata, Rosa canina, Urtica dioica). The occurence of diverse plant species affects the functioning of the ecosystem positively and can also be used for touristic purposes.