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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Assessing biodiversity and beneficials in agroecological cropping systems through a network of stakeholders

This project is being carried out in a context of continuously increasing pesticide use and declining biodiversity in agricultural environments. Current integrated crop protection strategies, based on agronomic levers, do not make it possible to significantly reduce the use of pesticides, particularly insecticides. They must be complemented by other methods such as the reinforcement of regulation processes based on the biodiversity of agricultural environments, whether managed or associated. We therefore seek to study how biodiversity at the scale of the plot and its surroundings can respond to these issues.

Funded under the Call for Emergence 2016, the BASCULER project took place over 2 years (2017-2018).

Project leaders: Antoine GARDARIN (Agronomy) and François Chiron (ESE)



  • in BASC: The Joint Research Units 'Agronomy', 'Ecology, Systematics, Evolution' (ESE), 'EcoSys' and 'SADAPT'
  • academic non BASC: LAE
  • non academic: the French Office of Biodiversity, the Regional Natural Park of the Upper Chevreuse Valley, the association Hommes et Territoires, the chambers of agriculture of the regions and departments concerned

The emergence of a multifunctional agriculture providing and relying on a diversity of ecosystem services requires the implementation of original combinations of agroecological levers, at different scales and manageable by farmers. However, it appears that most of the past works have studied the services rendered by cropping systems or spatial planning on a limited number of services, without considering them as a whole and leaving aside their interactions.

The BASCULER project aimed to set up a network of farmers' plots in the Paris basin to explore how intra-plot arrangements of crop diversity and flower strips, consistent with cropping systems that are a priori favourable to biodiversity, could meet agronomic and ecological challenges. The objective of this project is to (1) analyze how the levers used by farmers modify the biological component, the environmental conditions and their interactions, (2) quantify the associated ecosystem services of provision, regulation and culture, and (3) identify the trade-offs between these services. 

Bande fleurie dans une parcelle agroforestière (BASCULER)

A first outcome of the project (also made possible by the support of several other co-financing sources) is the realization of an "initial state" of biodiversity (arthropods and vertebrates) in 2018 in a network of 30 farmers with contrasting cropping systems, the establishment of perennial flower strips at the end of 2018, and the continuation of annual monitoring of biodiversity to study the medium-term effect of these arrangements. A second outcome is that this scheme has made it possible to federate the work of several research teams whose work focuses on the relationships between biodiversity (from soil microorganisms to aerial vertebrates) and the ecosystem services provided (regulation, production and cultural). This work began in 2019 and 2020 and has not yet produced quantitative results that can be disseminated at this stage.         Photo: A flower strip (foreground) in an agroforestry plot

Exemple de résultat BASCULER

===> The project leader explains the project and its RESULTS in VIDEO (LabEx BASC scientific days, February 2021)

photo projet BASCULER

Numerous other financing were requested and obtained from INRAE, AgroParisTech, the French Office of Biodiversity and the François Sommer Foundation. Three thesis grants have also been obtained, which will allow the network of farmers' plots to be developed. The funding currently acquired will expire in 2021. Given the fruitful collaborations that have been established during this project, we hope to be able to perpetuate this biodiversity analysis system.