SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Oct 25 (EUROPA PRESS) –
The Costa Adeje Tourism Development Center hosts from this Wednesday until Friday the international forum ‘Plant health in Mediterranean and subtropical crops. Challenges in the face of an agroecological transition ‘.
Organized by Phytoma, this meeting is aligned with the European objectives to increase the organic production area and achieve a fair, healthy and ecological food system.
Therefore, it represents an opportunity to discuss the strategies, techniques and new resources that must be incorporated into crop management.
This forum will bring together the main experts in agroecology, a term that emerged in Latin America in the 70s of last century, “as a response to the model of intensive agriculture, which entailed a deterioration of natural resources, the depletion of the soil, an imbalance ever higher in agrosystems and growing inequality “, explains José Luis Porcuna, from the Fundación Instituto de Agroecología y Sostenibilidad (FIAES) and ‘alma mater’ of this meeting.
Agroecology aims to address the ecological crisis and existing environmental and social problems, from a global perspective, considering that all elements are interconnected and therefore interdependent.
Since its appearance, agroecology has gradually taken a position in universities and research centers around the world, and was considered by many social movements as a useful instrument to give agronomic, socio-political and economic foundations to their proposals.
Miguel A. Altieri, Emeritus Professor of Agroecology at the University of California and the main theorist of this model, believes that “climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic have created conditions for agroecology to acquire a new relevance, suggesting paths for rebuilding a more diversified and resilient agriculture that is capable of facing the crises of the future. “
Altieri, who also participates in the meeting organized in Tenerife, defends that the protection of crops in this new paradigm is based on three pillars: the recovery of natural habitats, breaking monoculture with diversified designs that promote beneficial fauna and revitalizing organically and biologically the soils.
“In the future, pest management will have to rely more and more on ecological concepts to favor natural processes and biological interactions that optimize synergies so that diversified farms can sponsor their own soil fertility, crop protection and productivity to through the activation of soil biology, the recycling of nutrients, the increase of beneficial and antagonistic arthropods “, he details.
Clara Nichols, Altieri’s colleague at the University of California, agrees with him that “farmers can substantially reduce the incidence of pests by making their crops less vulnerable to being invaded by them and by breaking the monoculture through diversification schemes that optimize plant life. habitat for beneficial fauna “.
Among the diversification strategies, Nichols cites the management of weeds that can offer resources to the natural enemies of pests; polycultures, in which two or more crops are established simultaneously and close enough together so that they can obtain the maximum complementarity of the species in the mixture; and the use of vegetal covers in the crops or enriching the flora at the edges of the plantations, which favor the greater abundance and efficiency of predators and parasitoids.
Along these lines, he points out that “the restoration of natural control in agroecosystems through vegetation management not only serves to regulate pest populations, but also helps to conserve energy, improve soil fertility, minimize risks. facing climate change and reducing dependence on external resources “.
The final objective of agroecological design, he continues, “is the integration of the components in such a way as to improve biological efficiency and maintain the productivity and sustainability of the agroecosystem.”