Since the end of World War II, we are facing an increase in agricultural intensification and industrialization to ensure the sustainability of food supply. This agricultural revolution was a success in terms of food production. However, it also led to (semi-)natural habitat destruction and fragmentation, increased field size, simplified crop rotation, landscape homogenization, erosion, water and soil pollution, loss of biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services.
In response to these environmental problems, agro-environmental schemes were established at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. These schemes, such as implantation of hedgerows and flower strips, can be applied by farmers in Wallonia since 1995 and are important for species conservation and landscape connectivity.
In our PhD projects, we focus on the impact of these agro-environmental schemes on integrated pest management (IPM) in an agricultural context:
- Charlotte Francis is focusing on the impact of hedgerow on the ecosystem service of integrated pest management by studying populations of aphids, aphid parasitoids, slugs and carabids.
- Pauline Gardin is studying the regulation of aphids in orchards using mass release of aphid parasitoids and implantation of flower strips.
- Charlotte Tinel is studying the attractiveness of flower strips for parasitoids in order to improve the efficiency of aphid control in wheat fields.