Synergic sustainable agriculture and beekeping practices to preserve native plants and honeybees in Mediterranean agroecosystems
B.4 Environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation
A.1.2: Strengthen and support euro-Mediterranean networks, clusters, consortia and value-chains in traditional sectors (agro-food, tourism, textile/clothing, etc.) and non-traditional sectors (innovative ideas solutions for urban d
Intensive chemically based agriculture is recognised as one of the main factors contributing honeybees mortality and colony collapse disorder (CDD) in the Mediterranean basin. Furthermore, intensive agriculture often involves a maximum utilization of land surface and the removal of non-crop areas such as surrounding vegetation and weeds. The consecuence is a drastic drop in the number of native plants surviving withing agroecosystems and in the availabity of meliferous flowers. All that transforms these agroecosystems on particularly difficult environments for honeybees.
The aim of this project is to design and promote sustainable agroecosystems that contain native Mediterranean meliferous plants in and around field crops (hedges, cover crops…) and support the preservation of honeybees. That is, create a synergic association between sustainable agriculture and apiculture (or farmers and beekeepers) in the Mediterranean basin territories to achieve mutual benefits for both sectors and for the nature conservation.
The project focuses on the enhancement and promotion of sustainable farming practices based on the conservation of native plants within Mediterranean agroecosystems and, at the same time, on giving Mediterranean honeybee productions added value through the promotion of differentiated quality honey.
A second objective is to identify the main honeybee subspecies or “ecotypes” employed in each participant region, the factors that can affect their health status and the honey production and the native meliferous plants that could be used as ecological infrastructures in these agroecosystems.
To achieve these targets AGROECOBEE will join multidisciplinary laboratory and field research, experienced farmers, beekeepers and other actors involved to create transnational euro-Mediterranean networks.
• To create multi-disciplinary working teams composed by farmers, beekeepers, researchers, agriculture and apiculture associations and enterprises, ecologist/environmental organizations and public agriculture institutions concerned on sustainable practices and the conservation of native plants and honeybees on Mediterranean agroecosystems.
• To promote cross-border collaboration between research centers, agriculture and apiculture associations and other involved institutions to share the knowledge regionally and internationally.
• To evaluate and select meliferous native plants from each participant territory that could be used as ecological infrastructures in agroecosystems.
• To characterize and define the quality standards for Mediterranean sustainable honeys and other sustainable hive derived products.
• To find sustainable agriculture and apiculture applied solutions that protect native Mediterranean plants and at the same time increase the presence of feeding honeybees within chemically untreated fields.
• To promote synergic sustainable agriculture and apiculture practices in the Mediterranean basin territories through formative courses and conferences.
• To foster the benefit of Mediterranean sustainable agriculture and apiculture as a key developmental factor for the Mediterranean Basin regions and to improve the preservation of their ecosystems.
• To create a new agro-ecological model for Mediterranean sustainable farmers and to increase the number of farmers and the land surface involved on sustainable practices that include the use of non-crop native Mediterranean plants and honeybee conservation.
• To establish successful collaborations among Mediterranean researcher centers working on sustainable agriculture and apiculture and between research centers and sustainable agriculture and apiculture associations.
• To find optimal meliferous botanical species from each participant territory that could be used as ecological infrastructures in agroecosystems.
• To increase the number of honeybees within agroecosystems and the production of (organic) honey in the Mediterranean basin territories.
• To rise commercialisation opportunities and circular economy for sustenible farmers and beekepers and open new business chanels.
• To inform farmers, beekeepers, institutions and wider public about the results obtained through journal reports, training courses, informative events, workshops and conferences.
• To create an agro-Mediterranean cluster to guarantee the honey origin and quality. This will help the revitalization of the apiculture sector and the production chain.
Polytechnic University of Valencia, Research Institute of Food Engineering for Development, Agroforestry Mediterranean Institute, ECOMED Assotiation.
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Polytechnic University of Valencia
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