Project summary

Biodiversify aims to demonstrate that high biodiversity-based agriculture (HSD) effectively provides ecosystem services in substitution for external inputs and is relevant to improve agroecosystem sustainability and resilience. HSD supports the increase in food security and the health of farmers and ecosystems in the Mediterranean region. Three production systems covering a large land use area and wide gradient of pedo-climatic conditions, farming systems and socio-economic contexts are considered: 1) arable cereal-based cropping systems, 2) vineyards, and 3) olive-based systems. The project will consider conventional and traditional farming, as well as rainfed and irrigated systems located in 7 countries (Algeria, France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia). Biodiversify will organise a network of 9  case studies that will define the key questions to be addressed at the regional and farm levels for each farm case type. Solutions will be co-designed and co-evaluated through participatory workshops. It will analyse a gradient of HSD solutions based on spatio-temporal species diversification using 1) reintroduction of legumes and neglected species in rotations, 2) introduction of multi-service cover crops, 3) intercropping of cereal-legume mixtures for grain and forage, and 4) agroforestry for olive-based systems. Biodiversify will support the use of species and germplasm/cultivars, including traditional populations from the Mediterranean basin. The project will use complementary approaches and methods including field experiments, knowledge synthesis, and modelling to design and assess current and HSD innovative farming systems under various scenarios. The project will produce a portfolio of scientific results and practical information for farmers and stakeholders, to foster the adoption of HSD farming systems. It will also communicate towards the society to explain the benefits of developing a sustainable HSD agriculture to address current environmental and social challenges.