An edible forest, refuge for foraging insects
Everyone wins: insects of course but also nature, animals and humans. Because currently, modern intensive agriculture is wreaking havoc: we observe in particular the decline of nearly 40% of populations of foraging insects. Without them, more than half of our fruits, vegetables and everyday consumer products are doomed to disappear.
These foraging insects are an essential link in the maintenance of ecosystems, biodiversity and the survival of other species. There is an urgent need to protect them.
The edible forest, an island of biodiversity in the middle of our countryside
In contrast to monoculture, widely used in intensive and industrial agriculture, the edible forest is based on a model of sustainable and self-sufficient agriculture, in which man works with nature, not against it.
Like a natural forest, an edible forest is composed of a great diversity of plants ranging from mushrooms to trees. Once adult, this nourishing garden brings fruit, is able to live without watering, nourishes itself and creates a micro climate. This forest garden is divided into “plots” called guilds.
It is composed of melliferous and nectariferous species. Flowering takes place over long months and attracts foraging insects, develops pollination, repels pests and unwanted plants, and fertilizes good plants.
The importance of pollinating insects
It consists of transporting a grain of pollen from one flower to another.
The vectors of this pollination are many and varied, foremost among which: insects, and more particularly bees. Some flowers, such as red clover or wild pansies, are only pollinated by insects.
Foraging insects need different pollens to feed healthily and stay healthy. Composed of a great diversity of plants, Forest Gardens bring this diversity and are ideal food gardens for insects.
Some examples of foraging insects
There are a multitude of pollinating insects, the first of which are bees of course. We are familiar with bees that live in colonies in hives, but did you know that the majority of species are solitary bees that live by nesting in a hole in the ground?
The latter, which are not protected by hives, need biodiversity refuges. Bumblebees are also very important players in pollination: these large hairy insects are more resistant thanks to their size and physical strength than bees. They can fly despite the wind and their long tongue allows them to forage flowers inaccessible to their cousins such as peas and beans. Did you know that their flapping wings and the vibrations of their large bodies in turn make the flowers vibrate as they release their pollen? This is called vibratile pollination or sonication.
The butterfly, the most famous insect in the world, feeds only on plants, it is phytophagous. Adults feed on nectars of flowering plants. In Europe, butterflies are used as bio-indicators. They are used to assess the state and health of ecosystems. This role is attributed to them because they are vulnerable to many factors of environmental degradation and are pollinators.
For all bumblebees, solitary bees, beetles, butterflies, wasps, osmias, xylocopes, flies and other foraging insects that play a crucial role in biodiversity, the survival of nature, and the production of our fruits and vegetables, it is important to develop in France edible forests, real paradises on Earth!