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Functional Agricultural Biodiversity : Optimising ecosystem service provision via functional agricultural biodiversity

Project description

Conserving bees to save our farms

The use of pesticides and chemical-intensive farming systems are causing bees and other vital pollinators to die at alarming rates worldwide. These insects are essential for two-thirds of our food crops. Enhancing biodiversity is one way to mitigate the loss of pollinator diversity. The EU-funded FAB project will investigate the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of key pollinating species. It will conduct research at cereal and flower fields in France. Ultimately, the project’s goal is to integrate the concept of functional agricultural biodiversity to help farmers restore key ecological services (biological crop pest suppression and crop pollination) to ensure biodiversity-friendly production.

Objective

Regulating services (pest regulation and pollination) are considered to be the major ecosystem services (ES) delivered by biodiversity to agriculture worldwide. Unfortunately the expansion of modern, chemical-intensive agriculture has caused widespread declines in the abundance and diversity of beneficial arthropods (e.g. bees, natural enemies of pests) and the valuable ES they provide. Increasing plant biodiversity to enhance pollinators and natural enemies in agro-ecosystems is a promising management technique to foster ES delivery. However, the translation of increased species diversity and abundance into enhanced ES provision and thus crop yield cannot be depended upon. Furthermore, ES are currently studied in isolation and potential antagonisms between ES poorly understood. With recent research suggesting that management methods for one ES may be detrimental to the other, it is imperative that these ES are no longer studied in isolation to better understand potential antagonisms / synergies. The FAB (Functional Agricultural Biodiversity) Project will, for the first time, study the effects of plant biodiversity on the delivery of these two vital ES collectively. Performed in collaboration with ECOBIO and the company Yves Rocher, the project will utilise cereal and flower fields in NW France to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution patterns of key ES-provider species and how this translates into increased ES provision (pollination and pest regulation for the farmer). Ultimately, the research aims to find solutions for the removal of barriers that prevent or limit the delivery of pest regulation and pollination by FAB and ES management strategies and enhance yield for the farmers. A 6 months secondment to Yves Rocher will offer me unique insight into industry, learning the constraints of production and necessity to develop a marketing image, further strengthening my reputation within my field and developing future collaborative relationships.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITE DE RENNES
Net EU contribution
€ 196 707,84
Address
263 AVENUE DU GENERAL LECLERC
35042 RENNES
France

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Region
Bretagne Bretagne Ille-et-Vilaine
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 196 707,84