We are very happy to annouce that our picture “Car(ry)ing For Biodiversity with Poplar Plantations” is the winner of the category “impact of BBI JU” at the 2021 BBI JU Photo Competition. The jury has selected the photo from over 170 entries for the competition.
This picture shows two red poplar leaf beetles (Chrysomela populi) on a poplar leaf in D4EU Short Rotation Plantations. D4EU aims to establish 2500 ha of poplar plantations on marginal or on currently unused agricultural land in rural areas. These poplar plantations diversify arable landscapes and establish new habitats: Poplar plantations mostly host a higher abundance of birds, beetles, butterflies and amphibia than arable fields.
Poplar Plantations also reduce the use of machinery and chemicals: They allow herbal understorey, edges and gaps which can be an important habitat and/or food source for insects and other smaller animals. Due to the perennial growth of the poplars, machine effort (e.g. tilling, ploughing) is minimized and habitats can stay intact for years. In addition, the tolerated understorey reduces application of any pesticides and no fertilizer is needed in almost all situations, because trees have not yet been domesticated in an intensity as our classic agricultural crop plants are. Thus, the poplar plantations of D4EU enhance biodiversity.