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Projet Z, UERI Gotheron et UR Ecodéveloppement

Gotheron, Projet Z module 1
© Thomas Nicolas

Location, area
The Z project (10 ha) is located on the Gotheron experimental unit, in the Drôme, on the Valence plain. This INRAE experimental unit covers 86 ha and is dedicated to fruit growing.
Types of agricultural production
A first agroecological experimental orchard was installed in 2018 on an area of 1.7 ha. The main fruit species (apple, plum, peach and apricot trees), various secondary productions (nuts, small fruits, etc.) and service plants are arranged in concentric circles around a pond; the system also includes numerous facilities for biodiversity. This diversity and spatial arrangement aim to maximise the ecosystem services of regulating pest populations.
Issues and place of the pesticide issue
The objective of Project Z is to design and test a low-input, pesticide-free (and biocontrol products) fruit production area on a total surface area of 10 ha, based on plant diversity and a spatial layout that limits pests and favours their antagonists. This system aims to analyse the ecological processes involved and to evaluate the performance of the agroecosystem in a multi-criteria manner. The circular orchard is the first phase of the project and is the result of a multi-actor design process involving farmers, advisors, trainers, experimenters, researchers and naturalists.
Projections in relation to the Be-Creative project
The Z project involves multiple changes in dimensions, to move from an orchard-parcel to its insertion in the landscape (functional biodiversity), in the farms, the sectors and the agri-food system, and to take into account the organisational (work) and temporal dimensions (planned duration of 15 years).
Several actions will be carried out in Be Creative:
On the one hand, the insertion of the experimental station Z device in the Drôme territory and its perception by the actors involved will be studied, in order to understand to what extent this experimental model could be inspiring for the actors of the territory.
On the other hand, workshops will be organised to continue the design on the 10 ha extension (landscape dimension and 'proxy' farm in arboriculture) towards a functional fruit production system interacting with its territory (flow of materials and inputs, exchange of practices and knowledge), and involving a circle of actors of the local agri-food system (e.g. actors of short circuits, processors) to valorise the productions resulting from this hyperdiversified system.
Finally, the outputs evaluation of the Z project will be conducted via multi-criteria approaches (global sustainability), and an evaluation of the expected ecosystem services based in particular on the monitoring of biological communities.
Be Creative facilitators :
Aude Alaphilippe, Solène Borne, Sylvaine Simon, INRAE UERI Gotheron
Arnaud Dufils, Mireille Navarrete, INRAE UR Ecodéveloppement Avignon