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UK Research and Innovations (2018)

Sustainable Fruit farming In the Caatinga : managing ecosystem service trade-offs as agriculture intensifies (SUFICA)

Fruit Caatinga

Titre : Sustainable Fruit farming In the Caatinga : managing ecosystem service trade-offs as agriculture intensifies (SUFICA)

Pays/Région : Caatinga São Francisco valley in north-eastern Brazil

Durée : mai 18 - avr. 22

Référence projet : BB/R016429/1
Catégorie : Research Grant

Résumé partiel
The SUFICA project aims to enhance the competitiveness, sustainability and long-term resilience of fruit farming in the São Francisco valley in north-eastern Brazil, as it intensifies. The project will work with growers and international supply companies to co-design and test nature-based innovations on fruit farms, aiming to generate multiple environmental benefits whilst enhancing fruit yield or quality and reducing inputs. It takes a trans-disciplinary approach, bringing scientists, farmers and industry together to tackle the challenge of managing a sensitive agro-ecosystem at the food-water-environment nexus, in the context of economic development.

There are three major outcomes : 1) SUFICA experimentally tests ’ecological intensification’ as a pathway to sustainable intensive agriculture ; 2) SUFICA establishes the necessary research infrastructure and tools to monitor and continually improve biodiversity and ecosystem services on farms in the São Francisco valley ; 3) SUFICA demonstrates how a partnership approach enables the benefits of agricultural growth and environmental protection to be combined. This approach can be applied in other developing countries.

The SUFICA partnership is a response to strong market signals in the agri-food sector that farmers should take action to support biodiversity. The project links this biodiversity objective with production-enhancing ecosystem services - pollination and water flow regulation - to assess the potential for management that benefits both biodiversity and production. The approach, termed ’ecological intensification’, has shown promise in Europe and North America, but has not been experimentally tested in tropical semi-arid environments.

The underlying scientific hypothesis is that multiple regulating ecosystem services can be co-erced to flow in bundles, and thus be synergistically enhanced in semi-arid agricultural landscapes, with accompanying biodiversity benefits. SUFICA tests this hypothesis using a replicated, farm-scale, Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) experiment, co-designed with farmers to monitor the effects of management actions that are feasible and attractive to growers in the region. The SUFICA experiment is the first scientifically robust, replicated test of ’ecological intensification’, in which multiple environmental and agronomic outcomes are directly monitored. We include carbon sequestration, as climate change mitigation in agriculture is a development goal for Brazil. The research will use state-of-the-art mapping and modelling approaches to explore mechanisms and predict changes to natural capital stock and ecosystem service delivery

Lead Research Organistion : University of East Anglia

Financement : Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
Budget  : £438 101

UK Research and Innovations

Page publiée le 27 août 2022