You may have seen this sign – but do you know what it means?23 December 2014
As part of the LIFE ALISTER project, the Alsace Region’s Chamber of Agriculture, working in partnership with the ONCFS, is conducting a series of field experiments aimed at balancing productive agriculture with better living conditions for small fauna.
The trials focus primarily on ground coverage, using crops that can both keep the European Hamster hidden from its predators and serve as food.
These plots are used to test seeding for plant cover in winter cereals, the aim being to develop a type of crop that can spread quickly and cover the ground in July, as soon as the wheat harvest is over. In the spring, a new and promising technique, the Strip-Till, will be used to plant corn in clover cover planted in autumn. The aim here is to maintain coverage between the rows of corn crops.
The ONCFS is concurrently studying these practices with respect to their impact on hamster biology, measuring a variety of parameters (survival, movement, reproduction).
The sign you see denotes the plots being used for experimentation, on which you will be able to note some uncommon plant cover combinations, or see ONCFS agents roving at night, equipped with headlamps to facilitate their hamster-tracking missions.