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Viabilité et adaptation des écosystèmes productifs, territoires et ressources face aux changements globaux (Agrobiosphere) Edition 2012

Predictive Ecological Engineering for Landscape Ecosystem Services and Sustainability

Sustainability of an ecological enhancement of crop health management
Identifying alternative management strategies that enhance the pest control service provided by functional biodiversity in orchard and crop and ultimately to optimize agricultural systems, at local and landscape scales, for economic viability and sustainability.

Three applied aims to enhance ecological engineering in crop health…
The control of crop pests by the enhancement of services provided their natural enemies is frequently evocated to reduce dependency of crop production to pesticides. Although, the links between the crop management, the levels of control services provided by the population of natural enemies and the crop productions remain largely unknown. The PEERLESS project has three aims: 1) identifying crop system and landscape characteristic for which the biodiversity functionally enhances crop production, 2) identifying ecological mechanisms linked with spatiotemporal heterogeneity in the density of pest and natural enemies populations, 3) design viable deployments of alternative crop system and semi-natural habitats in spatially explicit landscapes thank to the simulations of the population dynamics of pest and natural enemies. Each of these aims is a pilar of the PEERLESS project,

… by combining researches in ecology, economy and statistics
The first pillar evaluates the impact of agronomic practices and landscape arrangements on production losses caused by the crop pests in five different French agricultural zones. The second pillar analyses on one hand, inter-specific interactions at the parcel and landscape levels to determine the most relevant floral and animal species involved in the biological control of pests, and on the other hand, the population dynamics of pests and of their main natural enemies depending on the characteristics of the landscape. The third pillar design strategies of area-wide-management that optimize pest control service, agricultural production and farmer outcomes. It is based on the evaluation of the distribution crop and semi-natural habitat in landscape scenarii in which the population dynamics of pests and their natural enemies are simulated with mechanistic models. These scenarii are finally optimized base on their agronomic, ecological, environmental and economic performances,


The PEERLESS project will deliver results on viable scenarios of land use patterns that consider economical, agronomic and ecological objectives. Both the results and the methodology used will be of interest to the scientific community. PEERLESS will also reach results on agronomic and ecological factors governing pest/ pest-enemies interactions and spatial distributions at a local and landscape scale. It will also contribute to filling the gap in understanding processes that link pest/pest enemies communities to crop yield.


PEERLESS will contribute to structuring of a French scientific network in the field of agroecology and the achievement of the ECOPHYTO action plan . It will also contribute to the developpement of open reference databases for i) the molecular identification of beneficial groups of high agricultural importance (syrphids, hymenoptera parasitoids, carabids), ii) establishment of their trophic link with agricultural pests and iii) the crossing of agronomic practices with their ecological impacts.

Scientific outputs and patents

The scientific issues in PEERLESS will be of interests for large audience disciplinary journals and, mostly, academic journals at interfaces between economy, ecology and agronomy. The collaborative character of the project should result in a high proportion of joint publications between partners.


UMR 1347 Agroécologie Agroécologie
UMR211 - Agronomie Agronomie
INRA UR546 BioSP Biostatistiques et Processus Spatiaux
INRA UMR 210 Economie Publique Économie Publique
UMR 1349 IGEPP Institut de Génétique, Environnement et Protection des Plantes
INRA UR 1115 PSH Plantes et Systèmes de culture Horticoles

ANR grant: 806 753 euros
Beginning and duration: janvier 2013 - 48 mois


ANR Programme: Viabilité et adaptation des écosystèmes productifs, territoires et ressources face aux changements globaux (Agrobiosphere) 2012

Project ID: ANR-12-AGRO-0006

Project coordinator:
Pierre FRANCK (Plantes et Systèmes de culture Horticoles)

Scientific Manager UMR Agroécologie : Sandrine PETIT