Biodiversity to the Edge

The reservoirs of natural vegetation that survived the Pampan agriculturizaci³n in wire fenced hard shoulders and could serve to recover multiple functions that were lost, fundamental in the ecosystems.

In ecological terms, a rural runner is a long and fine linear element (by far edge, as the fencings) that acts multiple ecological as. When being used for agriculture it is not a space that maintains the biodiversity.

(SLT-FAUBA) the reduction of the cattle ranch and the expansion of intensive agriculture in the Pampan region turned the landscape into a species of the ocean of cultures, with few islands of natural vegetation. This produced negative consequences as the reduction of the biodiversity and the ecological functions that this one offers, from the productive ones to the aesthetic ones. Investigators of the Faculty of Agronomy of UBA (FAUBA) studied these agroecosistemas and are optimistic: the biodiversity can quickly reclaim from reservoirs in the edges of ways and fencings.

Poggio in land

€œIt is going to take years to obtain that the farmer and the society generally internalicen the handling of the atmosphere for the conservation of the biodiversity and the resources. It is necessary to think in the long term€ (Santiago Poggio)

€œWe began studying the weeds within the lots. When asking to us from where they came, we put ourselves to study the edges of the cultures, the fencings and the flanks of the ways, being thought that they were refuge of weeds. For our surprise, an important part of the flora of the native pasture was represented in those places, that we called rural runners€, told Santiago Poggio him, educational of the chair of Vegetal Production of the FAUBA, to the popularizing science site On the Earth.

The rural runners comprise of the landscape. They are long and fine, they own much embroiders and provide an amount with tie ecological functions to the biodiversity. Which are those functions? Among others, to facilitate the animal movement in the landscape, to serve as habitat for plants, animal and insects (they mate, they nest, they find protection, they are fed there, etc.), to do of filter (many animal do not get to cross the routes) and to facilitate that certain organisms migrate to other atmospheres. Obvious, they also can act as sources of plagues and weeds for the cultures.

Poggio and its equipment evaluated the capacity of recovery of the biodiversity from rural runners in experiments located in a field of the Syngenta company, in the province of Santa Fe. €œWe installed two types of parcels. In some it was stopped applying weed killers and cutting the vegetation; in others it was followed ahead with those practices. After six months, the vegetation had recovered. Although this it is a great result, much more it surprised to us that in a brief lapse already the community of insects had even recovered, in its majority pollenizers and predators of other insects herbivores. Even, we observed that typical bird of Pampas, the speckled tinamº, in a few months had managed to nest, to oviponer and to have its young€, commented Santiago to us, excited.

Multifunctional landscapes

From its results, Poggio began to rethink the rural runners as habitats that maintain an important part of the biodiversity in the agricultural landscapes. €œIt is necessary to study the environmental problems in the landscape scale since at that level the farmers work: they make productive decisions that soon implement in very extensive surfaces. Some areas of the landscape are cultivated and others are shepherded, but those that are not used for agriculture are those that they maintain the biodiversity€, explained.

The biodiversity is key for the agricultural production, since it is related intimately to the decomposition of the rest of harvest (very small ex., fungi, bacteria and other organisms), the nutrition of the cultures and the health of the ground. Also it allows to regulate the impact of weeds and plagues (ex., rodents that eat their seeds or avispitas that parasitan to insects plagues of cultures). €œThe pollination is a very important function. There are cultures as the sunflower and several horticultural species that they require of the visit of insects to fructify. And I do not talk about only the mel­fera bee; other native insects exist that fulfill that roll. We try to have an approach to the problem whereas clause all those functions€, added the investigator.


The pollination is one of the ecological functions that recovered in a short lapse from the rural runners. Although it can be realised by different organisms, in the system in study, the main pollenizers they are the insects.

The project of Santiago Poggio owns long term objectives, with approaches that go beyond the scientific research in applied ecology to agriculture. In this sense, it shelp: €œIf we spoke of biodiversity and of services ecosist©micos that provides, we must to include to society, since this one must realize of which their actions hit negatively on that biodiversity, and also must recognize that it benefits with many from those services. If for a moment we left of side the productive thing, we recognize that we like to admire a landscape because of being pretty, or to go to fish or to hunt, or to leave picnic outdoors. Those are also services of the biodiversity, and is necessary that as society we learn to appreciate them€.

The fan of opportunities is open

hard shoulder

At municipal level one is home to take brings back to consciousness on the importance of handling to the spaces public who maintain the biodiversity. An example of these spaces is the baquinas of the routes.

The interest of Santiago by the care of the functions of the biodiversity and the landscape has begun to have echo beyond the FAUBA. There is interest in the governmental scope, as the policeman, who is where decisions are taken on the public space at level landscape (ex., handling of the water, rural planning of ways and channels, transit of the agricultural machineries, etc.). On the matter, it emphasized an example to follow: €œAlso there is action at provincial level, as in the case of the freeway Rosario-Saint Fe, where the handling of the hard shoulders is regulated by law. Appropriate laws are required. It is healthy that there are initiatives, but also is very necessary to generate a legal frame, and it will be required of scientific and technological knowledge to implement it€.

Poggio also emphasized the important role that in the future would play the withdrawn ones of the Degree in Environmental Sciences: €œA fan of opportunities will be opened, as much in investigation as in teaching and extension. They are going to make lack advisory environmental that accompanies and controls to the farmers in the handling of the atmosphere, the implementation of initiatives of conservation of biodiversity, or in the handling of waters or toxic residues. Also the different levels, from policeman to national, are going to require the advising by suitable professionals, not only for the elaboration of reasonable laws, but also in the comptroller that must fulfill the State. The benefits will also include to the society as a whole, since it will be generated more brings back to consciousness environmental and new labor alternatives€.