Managing Natural Pest Control
Supporting functional biodiversity like bats and certain birds that eat insect pests can be a great way for farmers to reduce their pesticide usage while boosting the biodiversity of farmed land. This is an area of action we've been exploring with our Framework Farmer Cluster in Basse-Durance Valley, France.
We've done this together with our farmers and land mangers by helping establish flower strips and a network of bat boxes. We then provide scientific feedback on these to the farmers in terms of how they're operating and their impact. We're also empowering the farmers to be able to collect and leverage functional biodiversity data themselves by providing protocols for observation.
Preparation & distribution of seed mixtures for flower strips for farmers in the cluster happened this September. These flower strips should develop this autumn and be flowering next spring for increased biodiversity and pollination in the orchards. The 2023 season has to be prepared, new flower strips with 4 different species have been sawn in autumn in 5 different locations of the cluster.
Farmers will receive their 2022 results (the first season) of bat boxes and bird nests occupation. From 2023, they should also receive a simple protocol to start observations by themselves as part of Work Package 3.
This French cluster brings together organic and conventional fruit growers, mainly producing apples and pears. It is located in the Durance valley between Sénas and Cavaillon. It comes from a GIEE (group of producers) whose objective is to reduce pesticides, led by the GRCETA.
The producers were brought together in 2021 and committed to installing bat roosts and tit nesting boxes in their plots in order to increase the natural regulation of their main pests (codling moth, aphids).