How can I create FAB?
Due to its perennial nature the orchard is a particular habitat for many plants, animals, fungi and microbes. But orchard management affects these organisms and certainly the removal of unwanted vegetation, the use of pesticides and the selection of cultivars, training of trees and soil fertilization change the occurrence and composition of these species in the orchard. As many of them are parts of functional agrobiodiversity (FAB), they deliver free ecosystem services which are needed for healthy fruit production. The grower can support maintenance and promotion of these beneficial organisms by many available FAB-techniques. These can be assigned to the three following categories:
You can find results of scientific studies on these FAB-techniques in our literature collection and more practical reports under “Orchard alive!”. Very practical advice can also be found in the brochure "Habitat manipulation" published by Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences which can be downloaded here.
We also recommend the following "Ideabook on Functional Biodiversity at the Farm Level" (Boller et al., 2004). Find here a preview, you can order it via the following website: https://www.iobc-wprs.org/pub/index.html#books
In the EcoOrchard-project, we focus on the management of vegetation and floral diversity in apple orchards. In the following we explain in more detail why this is of fundamental importance for creating FAB in the orchard and how it can be done.