Diversifying organic crop production to increase resilience - DIVERSILIENCE
DIVERSILIENCE aims to improve the productivity and resilience of organic crop production by better utilization of crop diversity, through research work performed in countries of Northern Europe (Denmark, Finland, Norway) and Southern Europe (Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Slovenia).
It will study and exploit the following levels of genetic diversity:
- diversity within species, by germplasm improvement aimed to increase adaptation to organic farming and the changing climate as well as tolerance to challenging abiotic and biotic stresses;
- intra-species diversity, by developing evolutionary populations and variety mixtures of inbred crops and testing their advantage over genetically uniform crops in terms of weed, pest and disease control and increased resilience and yield stability; and
- inter-specific diversity, by developing a range of grain and forage legume-based mixtures and testing their advantage over crop pure stands.
DIVERSILIENCE will develop novel germplasm along with scientific information aimed to support plant breeding, the development of heterogeneous material and the design of intercropping. There will be extensive participation by stakeholders, who will co-design and test intercrops with researchers and take part in participatory breeding initiatives and evaluation of new germplasm.
The main target species will include several grain or perennial legumes (white lupin, lucerne, soybean, cowpea, common and runner bean), common wheat, buckwheat and maize, while several additional species will be envisaged for intercropping research. DIVERSILIENCE will include a number of dissemination initiatives.