What is the cost of increasing biodiversity in the environment of the Almeria greenhouses, southeast of Spain?
Since 2007, biological control has been established as a successful alternative to fight against pests affecting the main horticultural crops in the greenhouses of Almeria (SE Spain). According to the latest data, biological control technics are established in around 26,000 ha of the total cultivated in Almeria. 100% of pepper crop surface is managed under this technique. However, many climatic factors, physical barriers, etc. may affect the effectiveness in the implementation of biological control. In recent years an important effort has been made to enhance biological control by conservation in the area, with the aim to offer a proper habitat to native natural enemies of pests, trying to attract them and conserve them around the greenhouses. To do so, a selection of proper shrub species have been studied for this purpose. Hedgerows around greenhouse, established with these plants, may supply food and shelter for the beneficial insects, but should not be attractive to the pests. In these sense it is necessary to offer a staggered flowering all-year-round. One of the problems in the area is the space availability between greenhouses, so different plant combinations have been studied and proposed to design hedgerows depending on these criteria. Almeria province currently has around 31,000 ha of greenhouses, but the biological control surface by conservation is still very scarce. In this work, the costs of the hypothetical installation of this ecological infrastructures for the whole greenhouse territory has been evaluated. Likewise, an analysis of the relative importance that this cost implies in the total cost structure for the farmer has been carried out. Also the financial possibilities for this kind of environmental improvements has been carried out, both through the Agri-environmental Measures of the Rural Development Program of Andalusia, as well as the Operational Programs of the Fruit and Vegetable Producers' Organizations.
Parra, S., Rodríguez, E. and González, M. (2020). What is the cost of increasing biodiversity in the environment of the Almeria greenhouses, southeast of Spain?. Acta Hortic. 1268, 193-198
biological control, horticultural pests, native flora