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Developing apple pest control strategies through an integrated agro-ecosystem approach

The aim of the project, coordinated by Aude Alaphilippe, is to design and assess the efficiency and sustainability of combinations of practice alternatives to chemicals for controlling pests in apples. The integrated approach of the project will take into account agro-ecosystem management, orchard design and practices, as well as economic restraints. Such global perspective along with the involvement of growers in the design process is important for further adoption of the redesigned systems, and also to benefit from experienced stakeholders.

Figure project API-TREE, Call C-IPM 2017. © INRA, Aude Alaphilippe
Updated on 05/10/2017
Published on 04/25/2017

Aude Alaphilippe, what's new in this project?
The novelty of this project is the integrated approach that takes into account agroecosystem management, orchard design and practices, as well as economic constraints. In API-Tree project we will design and assess the efficiency and sustainability of combinations of practices, which are alternative to chemicals to control apple pests. The whole apple pest complex will be considered, with a focus on aphids, for which chemical control solutions are missing due to regulatory pesticide withdrawal.

Why work on a European scale?

This European project involves scientists from eight different research institutions in France, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and Spain. Thus, a range of geographic and climatic conditions is covered by this consortium, which comprises countries from Northern to Mediterranean Europe. This also permits to share various experiences and knowledge to propose innovative context-adapted solutions. API-tree will permit to design and assess new orchard systems in collaboration with end-users (mainly growers), who will participate in co-design activities and test some proposed strategies in their commercial orchards. Targeted practices will aim at building consistent and resilient systems that reduce both pest attacks and damage to attacked plants. All the partners have skills in ecology and agronomy and expertise in methods and practices that foster the defense of the apple tree against pest attacks and the control of apple pests by their natural enemies.

How to design a pest-suppressive agroecosystem ?

By selecting practices related to the enhancement of plant diversity (additional cultivars, cover crops, introduction of companion plants…), to soil and tree management (cultural practices) and to the design of agroecological infrastructures (habitat management to provide pest natural enemies with food resources and shelters, push-pull plant assemblages etc.).
The sustainability of the designed strategies will be evaluated using the multicriteria assessment tool DEXiFruits to account for economic, environmental and social performances of the experimented orchards.
The outcomes of the project will be 1) Integrated Pest Management strategies which can be implemented in different contexts, with information on their efficacy, mode of action, feasibility and costs; 2) methods to design and evaluate innovative orchards and 3) knowledge sharing and dissemination, including interactions to discuss and implement approaches and orchard systems with advisors and growers.

Portrait Aude Alaphilippe, Inra Gotheron © Inra

Find out more

Coordinator: Aude Alaphilippe, Inra, France, aude.alaphilippe@inra.fr
Partners: INRA, France; University of Copenhagen, Denmark; GRAB, France; Université catholique de Louvain and CRA-W, Belgium; Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Sweden ; Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaries and Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario,Spain.
Project granted through the C-IPM call, with support from French Ministry of Agriculture and SMaCH Métaprogramme.
To know more: www.smach.inra.fr/en  C-IPM project (2017-2019) c-ipm.org