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Northern R&D

The Integrated Crops’ Laboratory of Pests Ecology (ICLPE) in Northern Israel

Background:

In the Golan and Galilee regions and especially in the Hula Valley , local farms practice farming systems of different crops: orchards, citrus groves and field crops (total cultivated area of 30,1543 hectares ). A nature reserve of reintroduced swamps, situated in the middle of the Hula Valley , attracts thousands of migrating birds and tourists every year. This region also supplies water to Lake Kinneret , which is the main fresh water reservoir of Israel .

In order to manage this unique area with sustainable coexistence for all users - farmers, tourists, local population and water consumer all over the country, a broad ecological approach is needed. Within this context the local farmers' future depends on reduction of the use of pesticides. This vision is very difficult and very demanding. On one hand there are the markets demands for pesticide free products and the desire of the local population to conserve the landscape. On the other hand the mosaic of cultivated areas imbedded in natural habitats enables the pests to move easily between crops and natural plants and find refuge. Furthermore, the pests are developing resistance to pesticides. Therefore Integrated Crop Management (ICM) with a sustainable approach may be the only solution for the entire community of farmers. With all this in mind it is intended to establish the ICLPE, to be situated in the Hula Valley citrus research farm, as a centre of studies that will focus on multi-crop plant protection, as part of the Northern R&D.

Objectives

ICLPE’s objectives are to search for environmentally sustainable solutions for agricultural pests' problems in order to help the local farmers within a regional ecological framework.  The research would focus on: identifying key pests and their life cycle in each crop, studying the movement of pests and pathogens in and between crops using advanced methods of GIS and remote sensing, development of cultural pests control methods, getting to know the natural enemies of the relevant pests in the area and creating a pest control protocol that encourages the natural enemies. The lab will supply services to farmers, pest-monitors, and extension service agents. Guidance will be given to high school pupils from the area and students from the local colleges (Tel-hai and Ohalo) in eco-entomological research projects. Cooperation in agricultural-environmental and educational regional projects has already started with the relevant units of the local authorities, the Society of Nature Protection and Lake Kinneret administration.

Contact:
Dr. David Cohen

04-6953538