top of page
  • Taskscape Associates

Sharing the Effects of Land Abandonment

With the IOBC at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies

Group picture of IOBC-LMFB 2024, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa. | © SSSA

The International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control (IOBC) is an NGO working to promote environmentally safe methods of pest and disease control in plant protection. For the last decade, it has held an annual meeting of members to discuss “Landscape Management for Functional Biodiversity”. A programme of presentations, workshops and field visits facilitates the discussion of members’ research activity and allows for stimulating interdisciplinary knowledge exchange. 


Outlining the aims of the mission, the IOBC says:


Interdisciplinary research on issues such as functional biodiversity and landscape connectivity demonstrates that new options for pest control arise when systems management is approached from farm and regional scales. In addition to providing exciting new tools, this change in perspective is highly relevant in relation to the public debate on the sustainability of farming and food security, agri-environment schemes and the role of agriculture in landscape and nature management.


Hosted by a our Partners in Pisa


This year’s meeting was hosted by FRAMEwork partner the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, and researchers Alice Caselli and Matteo Dellapiana were able to present some exciting findings. 


SSAS’s Group of Agroecology were well-placed to host, having conducted a wealth of impactful research into functional biodiversity and land management techniques in the project’s Val Graziosa Farmer Cluster. The group’s particular focus has been topics related to the olive production industry, which is a key feature of the economic and social identity of the region. From ongoing monitoring of the region’s main pest, the olive fruit fly, to trials that investigate soil management techniques, SSSA exemplify an interdisciplinary approach to sustainable agriculture. 



Sharing FRAMEwork Research 


Speaking to an audience of 40 researchers and local stakeholders, Alice and Matteo shared the first results of their research into the effect of land abandonment on the prevalence of Staphylinidae beetles and other soil predators that interact with the olive fruit fly. Their findings illustrate the benefits of organically managed olive groves for supporting local functional biodiversity and economic activities in marginal areas, and shine a light on land abandonment studies as a starting point for stimulating local and regional institutions to take action at a policy level. 


We caught up with Alice, who said: 


“Land abandonment is a real hot topic in many parts of Europe, and it’s very surprising how biodiversity can be influenced by it…not always positively! The Conservation Biological Control can be the focal point for preserving the ecological services necessary for an eco-friendly pest control”. 


Thank you to our colleagues in Pisa for sharing such valuable insights. For more on the activity of the Val Graziosa farmer cluster and SSSA researchers, check out our 2023 year recap post.


bottom of page