EBIO-Network – a new knowledge platform on functional agrobiodiversity in European Orchards

The project EcoOrchard aims to collect existing knowledge and to generate new knowledge on how to successfully maintain or promote Functional Agrobiodiversity (FAB) in orchards. Therefore, it has established the knowledge portal EBIO-Network. The portal connects European fruit growers with stakeholders from research, advisory services and other organisations.

2017.03.22 | Annette Herz, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Germany

Fig. 1: The knowledge portal EBIO-Network  

Orchards are landscape-dominating perennial agroecosystems and their management impacts the existing biodiversity in the agricultural landscape. As a consequence, fruit growers can actively influence the level of biodiversity with their cultural practices. Moreover, they can profit from ecosystem services like pest control or pollination provided by elements of Functional Agrobiodiversity (FAB).

The new knowledge portal will facilitate solutions to establish FAB in European orchards by tracking and sharing experiences, new knowledge and challenges. (Fig. 1)

The EBIO-Network offers scientifically and technically proven information on how to establish and manage FAB in orchards. It is based on three main parts: 1) A database of stakeholders, 2) a database on practical knowledge and 3) a database on scientific results (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Basic structure of the EBIO-Network

A regularly updated literature database is available where relevant references from scientific journals and reports are collected (→ Publications). It keeps you up to date with current research projects dealing with FAB-relevant issues and with their results.

The practical knowledge is summarized and reviewed on the EBIO-Network (→ Orchard alive!). EcoOrchard researchers interviewed stakeholders from practice and science on the state of implementation of FAB in different European countries. We have organised several workshops in different countries (Fig. 3). 

Fig. 3 EcoOrchard workshop in Denmark.
Lene Sigsgaard, University of Copenhagen, is explaining the establishment of inter-row-flowering strips to growers.

Together with practitioners, the EcoOrchard team identified simple methods and protocols to assess FAB. Visual observation of aphid colonies, taking beating samples and exposure of sentinel prey or cardboard traps have been used and compared in orchards. These techniques are explained via a YouTube video (→What’s FAB/How can I create FAB?).
A handbook of methods is provided for interested farmers.

We invite farmers to test the methods and tools. Share your suggestions for further improvement by sending a feedback questionnaire back to us.

A collection of weblinks to country-specific information on practical guidance in national languages is available. Contact us if you can provide links to useful information in your own language. Furthermore, we are developing technical leaflets and reports on identification, creation and management of FAB, especially on the situation in the European orchards (in English). The recommendations will be available online in the form of picture reports, movies or PDFs (→ What’s FAB/How can I create FAB?).

The “heart” of the EBIO-Network is the database of stakeholders (growers, scientists, advisors, teachers and others) interested in the maintenance and usage of FAB in European orchards. We already collected contact points in the different European countries; however, more people are highly welcome. We also have the possibility to include a calendar of upcoming events. You can register on the website and indicate if you are willing to contribute actively as a contact point for FAB in European orchards (→ Get connected).

Please join us at EBIO-Network!

More information about the EBIO-Network and the EcoOrchard project

Visit Ebio-Network at: http://ebionetwork.julius-kuehn.de/

The knowledge portal is available within the internet presentation of the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Germany; one of the EcoOrchard members.

Visit EcoOrchard's project website at: http://plen.ku.dk/english/research/organismal_biology/applied_entomology/ecoorchard/

or the project website on CORE Organic Plus at:



Annette Herz, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Germany




Hadil Sharifova, JKI, Germany; 

Servane Penvern, INRA, France;
Lene Sigsgaard, University of Copenhagen, Denmark;

François Warlop, GRAB, France;

Lukas Pfiffner, FiBL, Switzerland

and the whole EcoOrchard-team