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SOLUTION (FRB, 2014‐2016): Enhancing natural pest control services using diversified farming practices at the landscape scale

Project summary:

Optimizing ecosystem services appears to be a promising way towards an ecological intensification of agricultural systems. It is now demonstrated that farming practices at the field scale and landscape complexity strongly influence population dynamics, natural enemy communities’ structure and trophic interactions. Moreover, it is well known that organic farming enhances abundance and species richness of many taxa at the field scale. However, nothing is known about how spatial distribution of organic farming systems over the landscape affects the structure of natural enemy communities as well as natural pest control. Our project aims to (i) to produce scientific knowledge about ecological processes shaping natural enemy communities and pest control, and (ii) to build a tool to predict the level of natural pest control based on landscape context and functional structure of natural enemy communities. The entire project will help stakeholders such as farmers and policy makers to design functional farming systems and agricultural landscapes optimizing the flow and the stability of natural pest control.