agrobiodiversity

Woody vegetation increases on-farm biodiversity and reduces pest damage

Natural habitat like woods and natural grasslands are known to support more insect and wildlife biodiversity than agriculturally intensive landscapes, but not all insects and wildlife such as birds are welcomed by farmers, and natural habitat near farms can cause fear of crop losses due to their potential to atract pests.

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Effects of Field and Landscape Scale Habitat on Insect and Bird Damage to Sunflowers

Agriculture-dominated landscapes harbor significantly diminished biodiversity. Woody vegetation along field margins can provide farmers with ecosystem services and benefit biodiversity. However, when crops are damaged by the biodiversity harbored in such vegetation, farmers are reluctant to incorporate field margin habitat onto their land and may even actively remove such habitats.

Pest control through altered plant resistance to insects: a benefit of organic management

Organic farming is known to increase natural pest control that helps organic farmers overcome reliance on chemical pest management. While the common perception is that natural pest control is largely boosted by practices that increase natural enemies to pests, a recent study in Nature Plants  explored a less common theory. This found that organic management also boosts the natural defenses of plants to prevent pest damage even when pests are abundant.

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Organic management promotes natural pest control through altered plant resistance to insects

The study is published on Nature Plants.  Reduced insect pest populations found on long-term organic farms have mostly been attributed to increased biodiversity and abundance of beneficial predators, as well as to changes in plant nutrient content. However, the role of plant resistance has largely been ignored. Here, we determine whether host plant resistance mediates decreased pest populations in organic sys-tems and identify potential underpinning mechanisms.

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa: a PhD in Agrobiodiversity

5 positions with scholarships are foreseen for the course. The goal of this four years PhD Programme is to enhance human resource capacities in the use and management of genetic variation in agricultural and natural systems, to improve the sustainability of agricultural systems and the conservation of genetic resources for the well-being of present and future generations. Candidates can choose between two curricula:

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A letter signed by 89 European associations to the Commission: European Green Deal needs to cut pesticides and switch to agroecology

A letter signed by 89 European associations to the Commission: European Green Deal needs to cut pesticides and switch to agroecology.

“We are writing to you as supporters of the European Citizens Initiative Save Bees and Farmers   which has been already supported by over a quarter of a million EU citizens.

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Smaller fields and diversified crops can help spontaneous plants to make a comeback, even in the middle of fields

Scientists from INRAE (lnstitut National de Recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement) and the CNRS (Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive), working with colleagues from Germany, Spain, the UK and Canada, have been looking at how crop diversity and field-border length (smaller fields have proportionately longer field border length) can enrich plant species in farmland.

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Configurational crop heterogeneity increases within‐field plant diversity

Increasing landscape heterogeneity by restoring semi‐natural elements to reverse farmland biodiversity declines is not always economically feasible or acceptable to farmers due to competition for land. We hypothesized that increasing the heterogeneity of the crop mosaic itself, hereafter referred to as crop heterogeneity, can have beneficial effects on within‐field plant diversity.

To what extent does organic farming promote species richness and abundance in temperate climates? A review

Biodiversity is critical for the function of ecosystems both on and off the farm. In recent years, we’ve seen dramatic losses of biodiversity for various reasons including changes in climate, land use, and increasing chemical use in farming. Organic farming practices by design are intended to support and even increase biodiversity, yet the outcomes of these practices have been controversial.

Inglese

Organic farming systems: more biodiversity and profitability despite smaller yields, but benefits affected by landscape context

There is a growing body of science that shows organic farming supports more biodiversity and can bring in more income than conventional farming, highlighting the environmental and economic benefits of using organic practices. What is less understood is how these benefits are affected by the farming landscape around organic operations.

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Abbonamento a agrobiodiversity