Project: Innovative design and management to boost functional biodiversity of organic orchards

Orchards are perennial cultures and especially in organic fruit production it is essential to design and manage orchards in a way which favours beneficials such as insect predators and parasitoids over pests and diseases. Increasing plant biodiversity and habitats in such a way that beneficials are favoured is coined functional biodiversity. The value of functional biodiversity (FBD) to reduce pesticide use in fruit production is generally acknowledged, and many organic fruit growers try to increase it by one way or another. However, they lack information how the functional biodiversity measures they decide to take may indeed contribute to FDB. Motivation is also negatively affected by the fact that they encounter many difficulties or fail completely due to various economical and technical reasons and by lack of situation-specific, detailed advice. To improve this unsatisfactory situation, ECOORCHARD is combining several complementary and very goal-oriented approaches: (i) identifying still “unknown” methods already implemented by fruit growers to increase FBD in EU countries (WP 1); (ii) elaborating suitable methods for collaborative application to monitor FBD on-farm and in scientific trials (WP 2); (iii) conducting collaborative scientific trials in WP 3 with focus on the quantification of the effect of a new approach to install FBD-boosting flower strips in the tree row (Sandwich system) and in the inter rows (BTW-strips); finally, the activities in WP 4 are devoted to learning from each other and dissemination. The different on-farm sites, scientific trials and a web-based stakeholder platform to collect and share information (made in WP 1) are important elements to bring the collected experiences and scientific results very directly to the organic fruit growers.

Acronym ECOORCHARD (Reference Number: 314)
Duration 01/01/2015 - 01/01/2018
Project Topic 2. Functional biodiversity to improve management of diseases, weeds and pests
Website visit project website
Network CORE Organic Plus
Call Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming Systems (2014)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen Partner Denmark
2 Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique Partner France
3 Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants Partner Germany
4 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Partner Sweden
5 Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Partner Italy
6 Walloon Agricultural Research Centre Partner Belgium
7 Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Partner Switzerland
8 Research Institute of Horticulture Partner Poland
9 UR0767 Unité Ecodéveloppement Partner France
10 Latvian Plant Protection Research Centre Partner Latvia
11 Gefion-Ecoadvice Partner Denmark