Research Areas research areas


  • In general, my research tends to focus on the interface between agriculture and plant community and ecosystem ecology. My interests include weed ecology and management, the role of diversity in agroecosystem function, plant invasions, community assembly theory, trophic interactions, and implications of land-use and climate change. The overall goal of my research is to better understand the ecological interactions that underpin agricultural production systems so as to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture.
  • Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title
    2019 Forage productivity and profitability in newly-established open pasture, silvopasture, and thinned forest production systemsAgroforestry Systems.  93:51-65. 2019
    2018 Manganese limitation as a mechanism for reduced decomposition in soils under atmospheric nitrogen depositionSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  127:252-263. 2018
    2018 Evidence for multi-trophic effects of pesticide seed treatments on non targeted soil faunaSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  125:144-155. 2018
    2018 Minerals in the rhizosphere: overlooked mediators of soil nitrogen availability to plants and microbesBiogeochemistry.  139:103-122. 2018
    2018 A regionally-adapted implementation of conservation agriculture delivers rapid improvements to soil properties associated with crop yield stability.Scientific Reports.  8:8467. 2018
    2018 Ecosystem services and land sparing potential of urban and peri-urban agriculture: A reviewAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.  33:481-494. 2018
    2018 Environmental Correlates with Germinable Weed Seedbanks on Organic Farms across Northern New EnglandWeed Science.  66:78-93. 2018
    2017 How do weeds differ in their response to the timing of tillage? A study of 61 species across the northeastern United StatesAnnals of Applied Biology.  171:340-352. 2017
    2017 Soil and understory plant dynamics during conversion of forest to silvopasture, open pasture, and woodlotAgroforestry Systems.  91:729-739. 2017
    2017 Agriculture in 2050: Recalibrating Targets for Sustainable IntensificationBioScience.  67:385-390. 2017
    2017 Balancing multiple objectives in organic feed and forage cropping systemsAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  239:219-227. 2017
    2017 Reconciling opposing soil processes in row-crop agroecosystems via soil functional zone managementAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  236:99-107. 2017
    2017 Another viewWeed Science.  65:203-205. 2017
    2017 Disentangling the Effects of Tillage Timing and Weather on Weed Community AssemblyAgriculture (Polnohospod�rstvo) Agriculture.  7:66-66. 2017
    2017 Timing of tillage as a driver of weed communitiesWeed Science.  65:504-514. 2017
    2016 Precision control of soil nitrogen cycling via soil functional zone managementAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  231:291-295. 2016
    2016 A comparison of soil hydrothermal properties in zonal and uniform tillage systems across the US Corn BeltGeoderma.  273:12-19. 2016
    2016 Influence of pesticide seed treatments on rhizosphere fungal and bacterial communities and leaf fungal endophyte communities in maize and soybeanApplied Soil Ecology.  102:61-69. 2016
    2016 Evidence for indirect effects of pesticide seed treatments on weed seed banks in maize and soybeanAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  216:269-273. 2016
    2016 Cover crop and tillage intensities alter ground-dwelling arthropod communities during the transition to organic productionAmerican Journal of Alternative Agriculture Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.  361-374. 2016
    2016 Enhanced control of soil nitrogen cycling through soil functional zone managementCrops and Soils.  49:42-45. 2016
    2016 In-Season and Carry-Over Effects of Cover Crops on Productivity and Weed SuppressionAgronomy Journal Journal of Production Agriculture.  108:1624-1635. 2016
    2016 Soil Functional Zone Management: A Vehicle for Enhancing Production and Soil Ecosystem Services in Row-Crop Agroecosystems.Frontiers in Plant Science.  7:65. 2016
    2016 Soil Water Holding Capacity Mitigates Downside Risk and Volatility in US Rainfed Maize: Time to Invest in Soil Organic Matter?PLoS ONE.  11:e0160974. 2016
    2016 The Eco-Evolutionary Imperative: Revisiting Weed Management in the Midst of an Herbicide Resistance CrisisSustainability.  8:1297-1297. 2016
    2015 A succession-energy framework for reducing non-target impacts of annual crop productionAgricultural Systems.  133:14-21. 2015
    2015 Effects of Living Mulch and Fertilizer on the Performance of Broccoli in PlasticultureHortscience: A Publication of the American Society for Hortcultural Science.  50:218-224. 2015
    2015 Performance of High Tunnel Tomato Cultivars in Northern New EnglandHortTechnology.  25:139-146. 2015
    2015 Cover-Crop Species as Distinct Biotic Filters in Weed Community AssemblyWeed Science.  63:282-295. 2015
    2015 Designing cropping systems for ecosystem servicesThe Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford Univ. Press, New York.  378-408. 2015
    2015 Plant Community Dynamics in Agricultural and Successional FieldsThe Ecology of Agricultural Ecosystems: Longterm Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.  158-187. 2015
    2014 A Scale-Explicit Framework for Conceptualizing the Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Land Use ChangesSustainability.  6:8432-8451. 2014
    2014 Cultivar diversity as a means of ecologically intensifying dry matter production in a perennial forage standEcosphere.  5:art115-art115. 2014
    2014 Multivariate relationships influencing crop yields during the transition to organic managementAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  189:119-126. 2014
    2014 Soil seed bank community structure of pastures and hayfields on an organic farmCanadian Journal of Plant Science.  94:621-631. 2014
    2014 Cultivar diversity as a means of ecologically intensifying dry matter production in a perennial forage standEcosphere.  5:1-12. 2014
    2014 Effects of Soil Amendments on the Abundance of a Parasitic Weed, Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) in Hay FieldsWeed Science.  62:118-124. 2014
    2014 Increased productivity of a cover crop mixture is not associated with enhanced agroecosystem services.PLoS ONE.  9:e97351. 2014
    2014 Structural Equation Modeling Facilitates Transdisciplinary Research on Agriculture and Climate ChangeCrop Science.  54:475-483. 2014
    2013 The biological basis for nitrogen management in agroecosystemsMicrobial Ecology in Sustainable Agroecosystems.  113-132. 2013
    2012 Integrated strategies for managing agricultural weeds: making cropping systems less susceptible to weed colonization and establishmentMontana State University Extension2012
    2012 Navigating a Critical Juncture for Sustainable Weed ManagementBioScience.  62:75-84. 2012
    2011 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)-resistant crops and the potential for evolution of 2,4-D-resistant weeds.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  108:E37. 2011
    2011 Assessing and Visualizing Agricultural Management Practices: A Multivariable Hands-On Approach for Education and ExtensionWeed Technology.  25:680-687. 2011
    2011 Direct and Indirect Impacts of Weed Management Practices on Soil QualitySoil Management: Building a Stable Base for Agriculture.  275-286. 2011
    2011 Dynamics of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and estimates in coastal northern CaliforniaTheorectical and Applied Climatology.  105:107-118. 2011
    2011 Yield and Net Returns during the Transition to Organic Feed Grain ProductionAgronomy Journal Journal of Production Agriculture.  103:51-59. 2011
    2010 A new hypothesis for the functional role of diversity in mediating resource pools and weed–crop competition in agroecosystemsWeed Research.  50:37-48. 2010
    2010 Management filters and species traits: weed community assembly in long-term organic and conventional systemsWeed Science.  58:265-277. 2010
    2010 Spider plots: a tool for participatory extension learningJournal of Extension.  48:5TOT8-5TOT8. 2010
    2009 Weed-crop competition relationships differ between organic and conventional cropping systemsWeed Research.  49:572-580. 2009
    2009 Effects of initial seed-bank density on weed seedling emergence during the transition to an organic feed-grain crop rotationWeed Science.  57:533-540. 2009
    2009 Weed Science Research and Funding: A Call to ActionWeed Science.  57:442-448. 2009
    2008 Effects of crop diversity on agroecosystem function: Crop yield responseEcosystems.  11:355-366. 2008
    2008 Diversity and abundance of earthworms across an agricultural land-use intensity gradientSoil and Tillage Research Soil Technology.  100:83-88. 2008
    2007 Assembly of weed communities along a crop diversity gradientJournal of Applied Ecology.  44:1046-1056. 2007
    2007 Competitiveness of herbicide-resistant and herbicide-susceptible kochia (Kochia scoparia [L.] Schrad.) under contrasting management practisesWeed Biology and Management.  7:115-119. 2007
    2007 Impact of agricultural management on carabid communities and weed seed predationAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.  118:49-54. 2007
    2007 Temporal yield variability under conventional and alternative management systemsAgronomy Journal Journal of Production Agriculture.  99:1629-1634. 2007
    2007 Wild oat (Avena fatua) seed bank dynamics in transition to organic wheat production systemsWeed Science.  55:212-217. 2007
    2006 Lessons from agriculture may improve the management of invasive plants in wildland systemsFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment.  4:428-434. 2006
    2006 Plant-Provided Food for Carnivorous Insects: a Protective Mutualism and Its ApplicationsEnvironmental Entomology.  35:1137-1137. 2006
    2006 Rapid change in the germinable fraction of the weed seed bank in crop rotationsWeed Science.  54:1094-1100. 2006
    2006 Timing of tillage is an important filter on the assembly of weed communitiesWeed Science.  54:705-712. 2006
    2006 Weed community and corn yield variability in diverse management systemsWeed Science.  54:106-113. 2006
    2005 Earthworms and weed seed distribution in annual cropsAgriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.  108:363-367. 2005
    2002 Incorporating ecology into agricultureTrends in Ecology and Evolution.  17:490-491. 2002
    2002 Incorporating ecology into agriculture (Book review)Trends in Ecology and Evolution.  17:490-491. 2002


    Year Title
    2018 Weed Control Through Crop Plant Manipulations.  73-96. 2018
    2017 A Disturbance-based Framework for Understanding Weed Community Assembly in Agroecosystems: Challenges and Opportunities for Agroecological Weed Management.  127-154. 2017

    Principal Investigator On

  • Building Resilience in the Northeast through Double Cropping and Diverse Forage Crop Mixtures  awarded by Cornell University 2016 - 2020
  • Expanding No-Till Organic Vegetable Production Through the Combination of High-Residue Cover Crops  awarded by University of Vermont 2018 - 2020
  • Getting from here to there: Protecting and Promoting Ecosystem Services During the Conversion of Forests to Fields in New England  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2015 - 2020
  • Collateral Protection: Quantifying and Mitigating Impacts of Seed Treatments on Weeds and Their Natural Enemies  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2017 - 2020
  • Pesky Weeds and Patchy Resources: Understanding the Role of Soil Spatial Heterogeneity and Root Foraging in Mediating Interspecific Competition  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2015 - 2018
  • Uncovering the Belowground Drivers of Weed-Crop Competition for Improved Weed Management  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2013 - 2018
  • Rewiring the Network: Structural and Functional Responses of Soil Faunal Food Webs to Pesticide Seed Treatments  awarded by University of Vermont 2013 - 2016
  • Precision Zonal Management Systems for Resilient Cereal Yields and Ecosystem Services under Variable Climates  awarded by Pennsylvania State University 2012 - 2016
  • Feasibility of Integrating Annual Feed Grains into Established Organic Pasture  awarded by University of Vermont 2012 - 2014
  • Development of an Ecologically-Based Agricultural Land-Use Assessment Framework for the Blue Hills Foundation Hayfields  awarded by Blue Hills Foundation Inc 2012
  • Teaching Activities

  • Agroecology Taught course 2019
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2019
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2019
  • Agroecology Taught course 2017
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2017
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2017
  • Agroecology Taught course 2016
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2016
  • Field Experience Taught course 2015
  • Field Experience Taught course 2015
  • Agroecology Taught course 2015
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2015
  • Field Experience Taught course 2014
  • Field Experience Taught course 2014
  • Agroecology Taught course 2014
  • Analysis of Ecological Data Taught course 2014
  • Education And Training

  • B.S. Biology, University of New Mexico
  • Ph.D. Plant Biology; Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior, Michigan State University
  • Full Name

  • Richard Smith