EcoStack will provide European farmers with the knowledge and tools needed to maximise ecosystem services for the production of crops, while minimising environmental impacts of agriculture and ensuring the profitability of farming. The objectives will be achieved by stacking ecosystem services to enhance synergistically the effective interplay of the service providers. Previous attempts at achieving this have been ineffective due to uncertainty of pollinator and natural enemy exchange between crop types and habitats, as well as the reluctance of growers to establish refugia for natural enemies and pollinators. In EcoStack we will focus on the management of beneficial organisms within the field, rather than trying to manage the external influx. We will make full use of increased knowledge of interactions between trophic levels (microbe-plant-herbivore-natural enemy / pollinator), and will manage and assess functional biodiversity benefits at different levels (within and between species, fields, landscapes), and stack them for maximizing farmer benefits and system resilience. Our research covers: conventional and organic cropping systems; arable, horticultural and permanent crops; pastoral and mixed systems, and all pedoclimatic production zones of Europe. Specific focus is on oilseed rape, wheat, and potato; field tomato; orchards (olive, fruit trees) and vineyards, and grassland/pastures. Advanced molecular and other technical tools are used to determine source populations of beneficial organisms, and to monitor and record movements and interactions. A comprehensive work-package will address relevant socio-economic questions including farmer uptake, and a specific tool will be developed based on precision agriculture data to allow farmers to link inputs (including functional biodiversity) to output (yield maps), based on data from their own fields. We have access to comprehensive farm networks covering all of Europe, for implementing and demonstrating our results.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeRIA - Research and Innovation action