References of "Dufrêne, Marc"
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See detailLinking Forest Cover to Water Quality: A Multivariate Analysis of Large Monitoring Datasets
Brogna, Delphine; Michez, Adrien ULg; Jacobs, Sander et al

in Water (2017), 9(3), 176

Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water. However, this hypothesis must be validated in various contexts as interactions between multiple land use and land cover (LULC ... [more ▼]

Forested catchments are generally assumed to provide higher quality water. However, this hypothesis must be validated in various contexts as interactions between multiple land use and land cover (LULC) types, ecological variables and water quality variables render this relationship highly complex. This paper applies a straightforward multivariate approach on a typical large monitoring dataset of a highly managed and densely populated area (Wallonia, Belgium; 10-year dataset), quantifying forest cover effects on nine physico-chemical water quality variables. Results show that forest cover explains about one third of the variability of water quality and is positively correlated with higher quality water. When controlling for spatial autocorrelation, forest cover still explains 9% of water quality. Unlike needle-leaved forest cover, broad-leaved forest cover presents an independent effect from ecological variables and explains independently 4.8% of water quality variability while it shares 5.8% with cropland cover. This study demonstrates clear independent effects of forest cover on water quality, and presents a method to tease out independent LULC effects from typical large multivariate monitoring datasets. Further research on explanatory variables, spatial distribution effects and water quality datasets could lead to effective strategies to mitigate pollution and reach legal targets. [less ▲]

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See detailL’agroécologie, vers la concrétisation d’une utopie ?
Bindelle, Jérôme ULg; De Schutter, Olivier; Dufrêne, Marc ULg et al

Article for general public (2017)

L’agroécologie prône une vision plus responsable de l’agriculture, plus respectueuse de la Terre et de l’Homme. Elle trouve une résonance croissante chez nous, tant dans la société que dans le monde ... [more ▼]

L’agroécologie prône une vision plus responsable de l’agriculture, plus respectueuse de la Terre et de l’Homme. Elle trouve une résonance croissante chez nous, tant dans la société que dans le monde agricole. Quels sont les enjeux de l’agriculture de demain auquel tente de répondre ce modèle alternatif ? Comment creuse-t-il son sillon dans notre paysage agricole ? Quels sont les principes, freins et leviers pour sa mise en oeuvre et sa pérennisation ? [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of the conversion of intensive grasslands into Christmas tree plantations on bird assemblages
Gailly, Robin ULg; Paquet, Jean-Yves; Titeux, Nicolas et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2017), 247

Over the last decade, the conversion of annual-rotation based crops or grassland areas into non-food perennial crops has been increasingly prevalent in European farming systems. This shift is associated ... [more ▼]

Over the last decade, the conversion of annual-rotation based crops or grassland areas into non-food perennial crops has been increasingly prevalent in European farming systems. This shift is associated with major changes in management practices and has created new environmental conditions and resources for wildlife. Impacts on birds have been examined for bioenergy agricultural systems, such as miscanthus plantations and short-rotation willow coppice. However, they remain largely unknown for Christmas tree plantations (CTPs) that have recently increased considerably in some European countries. We examined the extent to which CTPs alter bird species assemblages in the farmland areas of southern Belgium, where they mainly replace intensive grassland. The abundance of birds was recorded during the breeding season in randomly selected sites located in grassland and in CTP. Results show that introduction of CTP into landscapes dominated by grassland with low hedge densities locally increases bird species richness and abundance without leading to biotic homogenization. Differences in species richness and abundance between grassland and CTP decrease with increasing hedge densities. A community analysis indicates that the plantation of Christmas trees enriches the bird assemblage of intensive grassland areas. In intensive grassland with few hedges, small-size CTPs could constitute an option to increase structural heterogeneity and provide new potential breeding conditions for some farmland birds. However, questions remain about the genuine quality of the resources available in CTP and further research is needed to examine the breeding success and survival of birds that settle in this type of habitat. [less ▲]

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See detailHow does forest cover impact water flows and ecosystem services? Insights from real-life catchments in Wallonia (Belgium)
Brogna, Delphine; Vincke, Caroline; Brostaux, Yves ULg et al

in Ecological Indicators (2017), 72

While planet boundaries are being crossed and ecosystems degraded, the Ecosystem Service (ES) conceptrepresents a potential decision-making tool for improved natural resources management. The main aimof ... [more ▼]

While planet boundaries are being crossed and ecosystems degraded, the Ecosystem Service (ES) conceptrepresents a potential decision-making tool for improved natural resources management. The main aimof this paper is to assess the impact of forest cover on water related ES in Wallonia (Belgium) in termsof quantity and timing. We developed an approach based on easily accessible data, monitored in severalcountries and using straightforward statistical methods. This led us to study ES at “real-life” catchmentsscale: 22 catchments – from 30 to 250 km2– with mixed land covers were studied. We approached thewater supply and flood protection services through 5 indicators extracted from 10 hydrological years(2005–2014) discharge data series. These were computed annually and seasonally (vegetation periodfrom March to September and “non-vegetation” period the rest of the year). The water supply wasassessed through the specific volume Vs, the baseflow index BFI and the specific discharge exceeded95% of the time Q95s whereas the flood protection service was approached through the specific dis-charge exceeded 5% of the time Q05s and the flashiness index FI. Our study gives two main insights. First,statistical analyses show that forest cover negatively impact water supply when studying annual and“non-vegetation” period flows in general (Vs) but positively when studying low flows (Q95s). Regardingflood protection a slightly negative impact of forest cover on high flows (Q05s) was highlighted in the“non-vegetation” period. Results also show a negative impact of forests annually and in the vegetationperiod on the flashy behaviour of the catchment thus a positive impact on the flood protection ES. The“year” effect is overall highly significant testifying the importance of climatic factors. Rainfall is oftensignificant and can be considered as a main driver of these ES. Secondly, analyzing the quality of themodels produced and the results overall we assume that other variables characterizing the catchmentssuch as topography or soil types do play a significant role in the delivery of these ES. This questions theuse of land cover proxies in assessing and mapping of hydrological ES at a complex landscape scale. Wethus recommend further research to keep improving land cover proxies if they are used. [less ▲]

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See detailMise en place de pratiques agricoles de conservation: quel impact sur la vie du sol
Degrune, Florine ULg; Boeraeve, Fanny ULg; Vandenbol, Micheline ULg et al

Poster (2016, October 04)

Le projet Farm4Future a été lancé en 2015 et consiste en un suivi intégré d’un réseau d’exploitations agricoles belges en cours de transition vers des pratiques dites « de conservation ». Les ... [more ▼]

Le projet Farm4Future a été lancé en 2015 et consiste en un suivi intégré d’un réseau d’exploitations agricoles belges en cours de transition vers des pratiques dites « de conservation ». Les exploitations étudiées dans le cadre de ce projet sont caractérisées par des changements de gestion incluant notamment : (1) des associations de culture, (2) des couverts permanents, (3) une réduction du travail du sol et (4) l’introduction de structures vertes telles que les haies ou les bandes fleuries. Afin d’évaluer le potentiel agronomique et écologique de ces systèmes agricoles, une série de mesures ont été effectuées dans deux types de sol aux propriétés texturales contrastées : sable limoneux et un limon sableux. Afin d’obtenir un point de comparaison, les mêmes mesures ont été effectuées sur les parcelles des agriculteurs voisins restés en intensif et conventionnel. Parmi ces mesures, nous étudions la réponse de plusieurs indicateurs biologiques de qualité des sols telle que la diversité microbienne. L’étude a démontré un effet du type de pratiques agricoles sur la diversité microbienne en fonction du type de sol. Nous avons également identifié les microorganismes sensibles au type de pratiques agricoles. Cependant, l’étude nous amène à démontrer une grande hétérogénéité de réponses au sein de chacun de ces groupes. En effet, même si certains grands groupes sont globalement plus abondants sous pratiques de conservation (ou conventionnel), la réponse des microorganismes au sein de ces groupes à des niveaux taxonomiques plus fins (genre ou espèce) n’est pas uniforme. Aujourd’hui, même si les outils moléculaires de séquençage à haut débit ont permis de mettre en lumière l’incroyable diversité microbienne des sols, les services écosystémiques rendus par ces microorganismes sont encore très peu connus car moins de 1% des organismes est cultivable en laboratoire. [less ▲]

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See detailAre Christmas tree plantations a suitable habitat for farmland birds?
Gailly, Robin ULg; Paquet, Jean-Yves; Titeux, Nicolas et al

Conference (2016, September 06)

Over the last decade, nonfood perennial crops have been increasingly prevalent in European farming systems. Here, vegetation structure and crop management greatly differ from conventional crops and may ... [more ▼]

Over the last decade, nonfood perennial crops have been increasingly prevalent in European farming systems. Here, vegetation structure and crop management greatly differ from conventional crops and may likely impact farmland birds. Impacts on birds have been examined for bioenergy agricultural systems, such as miscanthus plantations and short rotation willow coppice. In Europe, the extend of Christmas tree plantations (CTP) has recently increased dramatically in farmland but their impacts on farmland birds remains largely unknown. We examined the extent to which CTP in southern Belgium alter bird species assemblages compared to traditional farmland. The presence and abundance of birds were recorded twice during a breeding season in randomly selected sites located in farmland areas with and without CTP. Results show that the conversion of traditional farmland into CTP modifies bird species assemblages and locally increases bird diversity and density without inducing biotic homogenization. This observed pattern indicates that CTP might constitute an interesting alternative habitat for farmland birds. However bird presence or abundance may be confounding indicator of habitat quality because individuals may be attracted to low-quality habitats in human modified landscapes. The European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola was chosen as a model species to investigate the quality of CTP as a breeding habitat in more details. Habitat quality in CTP was assessed with measures of reproductive success and survival. These measures were compared with those collected in traditional farmland. Although vegetation structure, field management and nest placement are highly different between habitat types, our first results suggest that CTP are not of lesser quality than traditional farmland for the European Stonechat. [less ▲]

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See detailAre Christmas tree plantations a suitable habitat for farmland birds?
Gailly, Robin ULg; Paquet, Jean-Yves; Titeux, Nicolas et al

Poster (2016, September 06)

Over the last decade, nonfood perennial crops have been increasingly prevalent in European farming systems. Here, vegetation structure and crop management greatly differ from conventional crops and may ... [more ▼]

Over the last decade, nonfood perennial crops have been increasingly prevalent in European farming systems. Here, vegetation structure and crop management greatly differ from conventional crops and may likely impact farmland birds. Impacts on birds have been examined for bioenergy agricultural systems, such as miscanthus plantations and short rotation willow coppice. In Europe, the extend of Christmas tree plantations (CTP) has recently increased dramatically in farmland but their impacts on farmland birds remains largely unknown. We examined the extent to which CTP in southern Belgium alter bird species assemblages compared to traditional farmland. The presence and abundance of birds were recorded twice during a breeding season in randomly selected sites located in farmland areas with and without CTP. Results show that the conversion of traditional farmland into CTP modifies bird species assemblages and locally increases bird diversity and density without inducing biotic homogenization. This observed pattern indicates that CTP might constitute an interesting alternative habitat for farmland birds. However bird presence or abundance may be confounding indicator of habitat quality because individuals may be attracted to low-quality habitats in human modified landscapes. The European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola was chosen as a model species to investigate the quality of CTP as a breeding habitat in more details. Habitat quality in CTP was assessed with measures of reproductive success and survival. These measures were compared with those collected in traditional farmland. Although vegetation structure, field management and nest placement are highly different between habitat types, our first results suggest that CTP are not of lesser quality than traditional farmland for the European Stonechat. [less ▲]

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See detailLandscape diversity, better for biodiversity? - hoverflies and butterflies in different agri-environment schemes
Pécheur, Emilie ULg; Piqueray, Julien; Dopagne, Claude ULg et al

Conference (2016, August 31)

In Europe, agri-environment schemes (AES) are designed to give credit to environmental issues in agricultural practices. Among the different Walloon AES, some are dedicated to enhance and preserve ... [more ▼]

In Europe, agri-environment schemes (AES) are designed to give credit to environmental issues in agricultural practices. Among the different Walloon AES, some are dedicated to enhance and preserve biodiversity linked to the agroecosystems. This study wishes to explore, at a landscape scale, how do different AES perform regarding butterflies and syrphidae diversity. Data collection occurred in five categories of ecological infrastructures (EI): four types of agri-environmental schemes (grassy strips, wildflower strips, bird-feeding margins, species-rich meadows) and cereal crops. Five replicates were selected for each category. Syrphidae were collected in water traps once per month, from May to July. Butterflies were monitored along transects from May to Augustus. Plant species were identified in every plot, within a 1-m radius around the traps and along a transect through every plot. Preliminary results show that abundance and species diversity of butterflies is significantly higher in parcels with floral resources. Moreover, hosts plants for larvae and foraging plants for adults are significantly more present in two types of AES: the wildflower strips and the species-rich meadows. Regarding the identified plant species, categories are divided in three groups (crops apart): bird-feeding margins; species-rich meadows and grassy strips; wildflower strips (Fig.1). Concerning hoverflies, a significantly higher abundance is observed in the wildflower strips compared to the crops in June (p= 0.008). Other abundance values in May and July show no difference. These results suggest that wildflower strips are performing infrastructures for biodiversity conservation in agroecosystems. As the presence of floral resources seem to be an important factor for the presence of foraging of adults, attention should be paid to the provisioning of food resources for the larval stages, especially butterflies, at a landscape scale in order to assure a sustainable approach in biodiversity support. [less ▲]

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See detailCombining ecotope segmentation and remote sensing data for biotope and species distribution modelling
Coos, William ULg; Delangre, Jessica ULg; Radoux, Julien et al

Poster (2016, April 29)

The design of appropriate biodiversity conservation actions requires an extensive knowledge of biotope and species distributions. Biodiversity monitoring is often a time-consuming task; however, it can be ... [more ▼]

The design of appropriate biodiversity conservation actions requires an extensive knowledge of biotope and species distributions. Biodiversity monitoring is often a time-consuming task; however, it can be optimised by biotope and species distribution models. In the Lifewatch project, a database combining segmentation in homogeneous landscape units (“ecotopes”) and environmental attributes derived from regularly updated remote sensing data (land cover, topography, potential solar energy,…) and other data sources (climate and edaphic factors) has been designed. Our aim was to assess the usefulness of this database for biotope and species distribution modelling. As a case study, the distributions of a peatbogs (actual and potential) and of a peatbog specialist butterfly (the cranberry fritillary Boloria aquilonaris (Stichel, 1908)) were independently modelled, using the Random Forest algorithm. The agreement between the biotope and species distribution models was assessed. Our map of predictions was compared to a model derived from a more classical grid-based approach. We observed that ecotope segmentation fitted more closely objective limits on the field, thereby improving the efficiency of biodiversity monitoring. The comparison between actual and potential biotopes allowed us to identify potential restoration areas. [less ▲]

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See detailNo favorable effect of reduced tillage on microbial community diversity in a silty loam soil (Belgium)
Degrune, Florine ULg; Theodorakopoulos, Nicolas ULg; Dufrêne, Marc ULg et al

in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment (2016), 224

Among the soil management practices used to promote sustainable agriculture, reduced tillage and retention of residues from the previous crop are reported to enhance significantly both soil fertility and ... [more ▼]

Among the soil management practices used to promote sustainable agriculture, reduced tillage and retention of residues from the previous crop are reported to enhance significantly both soil fertility and crop productivity. Here, high-throughput sequencing (454 technology) was used to see how the tillage regime (conventional vs. reduced tillage) and the fate of crop residues (retention or removal) affect microbial communities at two sampling depths (top soil: 0–5 cm and deeper soil: 15–20 cm) in a fertile silty loam soil in Belgium. All combinations of these three factors were studied. After 6 years of conversion from conventional to reduced tillage, depth emerged as the main factor responsible for variation in microbial diversity, tillage regime ranked second, and finally, crop residue fate had no influence on microbial diversity. For both bacteria and fungi, the diversity appeared higher in the top soil than in the deeper soil, and surprisingly, higher under conventional than under reduced tillage. These differences are explained by changes in community composition due to taxon loss rather than taxon replacement. The specific local set of environmental conditions (a loess-derived soil and an oceanic temperate climate) may explain these results. These observations raise the question: does impoverishment in indicator taxa influence soil processes, and thus crop production? To answer this question, we discuss how the presence of certain indicator taxa liable to play an ecological role might relate to crop productivity. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards sustainable food systems: the concept of agroecology and how it questions current research practices. A review
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Artru, Sidonie ULg; Brédart, David ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment (2016), 20(Special issue 1), 215-224

Introduction. Multiple environmental and socio-economic indicators show that our current agriculture and the organization of the food system need to be revised. Agroecology has been proposed as a ... [more ▼]

Introduction. Multiple environmental and socio-economic indicators show that our current agriculture and the organization of the food system need to be revised. Agroecology has been proposed as a promising concept for achieving greater sustainability. This paper offers an overview and discussion of the concept based on existing literature and case studies, and explores the way it questions our current research approaches and education paradigms. Literature. In order to improve the sustainability of agriculture, the use of external and chemical inputs needs to be minimized. Agroecological farming practices seek to optimize ecological processes, thus minimizing the need for external inputs by providing an array of ecosystem services. Implementing such practices challenges the current structure of the food system, which has been criticized for its lack of social relevance and economic viability. An agroecological approach includes all stakeholders, from field to fork, in the discussion, design and development of future food systems. This inclusion of various disciplines and stakeholders raises issues about scientists and their research practices, as well as about the education of the next generation of scientists. Conclusions. Agroecology is based on the concept that agricultural practices and food systems cannot be dissociated because they belong to the same natural and socio-economic context. Clearly, agroecology is not a silver-bullet, but its principles can serve as avenues for rethinking the current approaches towards achieving greater sustainability. Adapting research approaches in line with indicators that promote inter- and transdisciplinary research is essential if progress is to be made. [less ▲]

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See detailPros and cons of flowers strips for farmers. A review
Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg; Hatt, Séverin ULg; Paul, Aman ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment (2016), 20(s1), 225-235

Description of the subject. To counteract environmental problems due to agricultural intensification, European farmers can apply agri-environmental schemes in their fields. Flower strips are one example ... [more ▼]

Description of the subject. To counteract environmental problems due to agricultural intensification, European farmers can apply agri-environmental schemes in their fields. Flower strips are one example of these schemes, with the aim of supporting biodiversity, leading to an increase in “useful” species groups such as pollinators for crop pollination and natural enemies for pest control. However, to our knowledge, a complete appraisal of the pros and cons of flower strips, from a farmer’s point of view, does not yet exist. It is proposed that better and more complete information could increase the adoption and implementation of such agri-environmental schemes. Objectives. This study aims 1) to assess the pros and cons of flower strips, from a farmer’s point of view, and 2) to highlight the knowledge gaps that exist in the scientific literature, for the different types of pros and cons. Method. We listed the different components of the appraisal of pros and cons and conducted a systematic screening of the scientific literature on flower strips and these components. Results. The largest part of the 31 selected studies was concerning agronomical and ecological processes, such as pollination and animal pest control. Most of them indicated positive effects of flower strips. For many components of the appraisal, mostly economic and social ones, few or no studies were found. Conclusions. While a positive balance of pros and cons, from a farmer’s point of view, came from our literature screening, large research gaps still remain and more research is required, especially in the economic and social components of the evaluation. [less ▲]

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See detailThe 'Belgian Ecosystem Service' community of practices
Boeraeve, Fanny ULg; Jacobs, Sander; Keune, Hans et al

Conference (2016)

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