Scientists from the University of Coimbra assess the impact of pesticide use on vineyards in the Bairrada region

The Syberac project will run for the next four years with a total of around €5 million in funding from the European Commission (Horizon Europe programme).

Sara Machado - FCTUC
Diana Taborda (EN)
20 march, 2024≈ 3 min read

The research team at the presentation of the project in the Netherlands.

A research team from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) will monitor and analyse the impact of the use of plant protection products on biodiversity in the wine region of Bairrada (central Portugal).

The "Syberac - Mitigating the impacts of Chemicals on Biodiversity" project, which will run for the next four years, has received a total of around €5 million in funding from the European Commission (Horizon Europe programme).

"The project aims to contribute to a holistic risk assessment of plant protection products, as opposed to the current approach of assessing products on a product-by-product basis. We will analyse the use of these compounds in an integrated way, in specific contexts, while considering other factors that could modify their effects," explains José Paulo Sousa, Professor at the Department of Life Sciences (DCV) and researcher at the Centre for Functional Ecology (CFE)."

To understand the extent to which organisms are exposed to pesticides and the potential impact of this exposure in various landscape contexts, the FCTUC researchers will monitor secondary and soil fauna and collect soil and vegetation samples both inside and outside vineyards.

"We believe that the work to be carried out in this project may help not only to meet the objectives of various European regulations, but also to develop new approaches to risk assessment of pesticide use in Europe. Additionally, we want to help increase the uptake of environmentally sustainable management practices in the wine sector," Sousa says.

The Syberac project is coordinated by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and involves 12 institutions from different European countries. In Portugal, the UC is collaborating with local stakeholders such as Caves Aliança, the Commission for Regional Coordination and Development Centre, I.P. (CCDR Centro, I.P.), and the Portuguese Wine Industry (Apibairrada, Adega Cooperativa de Cantanhede, and Vadio Wines Unipessoal, Lda.).