SLU news

Exploring the future of agrobiodiversity

Published: 20 May 2024
An agricultural landscape. Photo.

Increased agrobiodiversity is expected to provide more resilient ecosystem services in our farmlands. Mattias Jonsson and Ariani Wartenberg aim to improve agrobiodiversity for resilient pest control services. Hear them talk about it in the podcast Scientific voices.

It is important to increase biodiversity of our food systems for several reasons. It can help us get a more varied and nutritious diet because a variety of locally sourced food will increase and because we can use less pesticides and fungicides that may harm both human health and the environment.

– Also, increased biodiversity can improve the resilience of our food systems to climate variability and to global environmental change, says Mattias Jonsson from SLU.

Mattias Jonsson is the project coordinator of the IMPRESS project which stands for “Improving agrobiodiversity for resilient pest control services across landscapes”.

Changing the structure of the landscape

– To increase agrobiodiversity implies to really change the way current landscapes are structured, says Ariani Wartenberg from ​​​​​the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF).

– Farmer should not be expected to carry the transition costs of this diversification, they need support through subsidies and certification schemes, says Mattias.

– Our main challenge is that it is still very difficult to implement this on the ground. Through our research we hope develop improved policies and monitoring evaluation schemes in a way that also fit farmers, says Ariani.


The IMPRESS project

Increased agrobiodiversity is expected to provide more resilient ecosystem services in farmlands. Biological control of agricultural pests is an ecosystem service that currently provides humans with great benefits. The overall aim of IMPRESS is to improve our understanding of how agrobiodiversity at local to landscape scales contributes to the resilience of biological pest control and how we can best capitalize on this asset in different landscapes and climatic conditions. To achieve this, IMPRESS will

  1. provide empirical assessments of how natural enemy diversity contributes to resilience of biological pest control under different disturbance and diversification conditions,
  2. use this novel information to better understand the link between farm diversity and landscape complexity to optimize biological control resilience in future climate and land-use scenarios, and
  3. analyse governance and policy strategies currently shaping biological pest control across Europe and identify how to best adapt them to support biodiversity’s ability to provide pest control resilience.

IMPRESS will provide recommendations and tools for how to manage European agricultural landscapes to ensure resilient biodiversity and biological pest control and will thus help prepare the agricultural sector in Europe for the consequences of climate change.

IMPRESS - Improving agrobiodiversity for resilient pest control services across landscapes

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