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Protecting crops through plant diversity

by Anaïs Tibi (editorial coordination), Vincent Martinet (editorial coordination), Aude Vialatte (editorial coordination)
may 2024

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DOI : 10.35690/978-2-7592-3850-7

The advent of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides freed farmers from yield-limiting environmental constraints while simplifying agricultural fields and landscapes. The environmental and health impacts of this dominant model, as well as its interrelationships with climate change and biodiversity loss, are now well established by the scientific community.
Although there is increasing societal demand for agriculture that meets food demand while respecting the environment and human health, the agro-ecological transition of cropping systems is insufficiently engaged. One of the reasons put forward for this inertia is the lack of effective alternatives to pesticides to protect crops.
This collective scientific assessment looks at crop protection strategies based on plant diversification in agricultural areas and analyses the obstacles and levers to their adoption by farmers. It is part of the Écophyto 2+ plan, which supports the production of knowledge and tools needed to reduce synthetic pesticide use.
This book is intended for teaching professionals, researchers, students, stakeholders in the agricultural world, land managers, environmental organisations and associations, and any citizen interested in such issues.


The French version of this book, Protéger les cultures par la diversité végétale, is available on our website.

La version française de ce titre, Protéger les cultures par la diversité végétale, est disponible sur notre site.

Table of contents

1. Pest, crop protection and natural regulation
* Pest: from injuries to economic losses
* Natural regulation in crop protection strategies
2. Plant diversification in agricultural areas
* Increasing crop intraspecific diversity: varietal mixtures, use of heterogeneous varieties (farmer, traditional), etc.
* Increasing the interspecific diversity of the cultivated cover: mixed cropping, service plants, agroforestry, etc.
* Increasing the temporal diversity of cultivated plants: diversified rotations
* Diversity of semi-natural vegetation in the landscape: hedgerows, permanent grasslands, groves, etc.
* Managing the level of diversity in the landscape

3. Agroecological impacts of plant diversification
* Diversifying the vegetation on agricultural fields and landscapes is a crop protection lever
* Plant diversification is good for the associated biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided to farmers and society
* Diversified systems often provide higher yields than poorly diversified systems
4. Implementing plant diversification to protect crops
* Introduction
* Plant diversification has contrasting effects on short-term farm profitability
* To encourage plant diversification, several obstacles must be removed both within agricultural supply chains and at the territorial level
* Public policies are a key factor in the deployment of plant diversification

5. Perspectives: plant diversification and environmental challenges
* What role can plant diversification play in the transition to pesticide-free agriculture?
* Plant diversification of agricultural systems to meet the challenges of climate change
* To what extent should we diversify? Some recommendations from the scientific literature
6. Further research and studies needed
* Gaining a better understanding of the natural regulation mechanisms of pests
* Gaining a better understanding of socio-economic organisations
* Building on long-term research and using digital tools…
* … to design public policies that foster diversification

Annex. The turning point in the Common Agricultural Policy that paved the way for plant diversification

* Greening the 2014 reform: An admission of failure?
* The promises of the post-2020 CAP reform
Selected references
Composition of the working group
Image and photo credits

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Language(s): English

Publisher: Éditions Quae

Edition: 1st edition

Collection: Matière à débattre et décider

Published: 27 may 2024

EAN13 eBook [PDF]: 9782759238507

EAN13 eBook [ePub]: 9782759238514

DOI eBook [PDF] : 10.35690/978-2-7592-3850-7

Pages count eBook [PDF]: 128

Interior: Colour

Reference eBook [PDF]: 02953NUM

Reference eBook [ePub]: 02953EPB

Size: 28.5 MB (PDF), 6.91 MB (ePub)

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