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Alain Tshibungu

PhD Student - Doctorant

Prof. Nicolas J. Vereecken's research group at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium.

Tel : +32 (0) 466 30 39 90/ +243(0) 811 77 64 57

E-mail : alaintshibungu@gmail.com

Profile & curriculum

Undergraduate in general agronomy - University of Lubumbashi, DR. Congo (2004-2007)

Agronomist engineer in vegetal production - University of Lubumbashi, DR. Congo (2007-2009)

MSc in Management of the Miombo open forest - University of Lubumbashi, DR. Congo (2010-2012)

PhD student  (2016-present)

Research interests

  • Development of ecological alternatives for sustainable agricultural production face to food insecurity in tropical regions

  • Taxonomy of afrotropical bees, networks of their phylogenetic and spatial structures

  • Analysis of the functional relationships between entomofauna diversity and the landscape context

  • Valuation of ecosystem goods and services associated with wild bee diversity in sub-Saharan Africa

Research project

The Lubumbashi region (Haut-Katanga, DR. Congo) has experienced, in recent decades, a strong pressure on forest areas for various reasons, including carbonization and illegal logging. This landscape change is certainly accompanied by huge disruptions in the maintenance of ecosystem services, including crop pollination. Far from being considered harmless, the massive and uncontrolled use of pesticides, especially in conventional agriculture driven by new technology (high mechanization, large financial capital, high levels of synthetic inputs, negative externalities on the environment and low social value added for local populations), intensifies the degradation of the fate of agriculture in the region. Already, the loss of agricultural yields would be mainly linked to the pollination deficit that needs to be measured and which is the subject of this project.

Benefiting from ARES-CCD funding, this research project was initiated to meet sustainable agricultural development objectives in a context of insufficient staple food and market gardening resources production in the heart of an urbanized region of sub-Saharan Africa in full demographic expansion. International scientific literature coupled with local observations illustrates that food production is largely dependent on the pollination service provided by insects, including wild bees and honeybees (Apis mellifera): pollination is the first step in the reproduction of flowering plants, since it is now established that more than ¾ of the cultivated plants and directly involved in human nutrition require the intervention of pollinating insects in number (abundance) and diversity (number of species involved).

To better preserve the diversity of pollinators, we must first recognize their functions more precisely in the geographical context targeted by this study and establish a baseline of their current contribution to food security. It is therefore important to first assess the likely contemporary pollination deficits, i.e. the quantitative or qualitative inadequacy of pollen transfer between plants, resulting in a reduction in fruit and vegetable production. 

To assess pollination deficits, it is first necessary to sample pollinating fauna while estimating their relative ecological and economic contribution; then it is necessary to determine the "pollination tension", understood as the quantitative production gap between pollination situations without pollinators (after experimental exclusion using insect bags surrounding the flowers) and manual pollination situations (maximum pollination, pollen transferred from one plant to another). Landscape analysis complements sampling and open field trials to identify factors influencing the progressive erosion of bee diversity and the subsequent loss of crop yields