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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE INSECT PESTS AND WEEDS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Current status and potential of conservation biological control for agriculture in the developing world

Authors
item Wyckhuys, Kris A. G. -
item Lu, Yanhui -
item Morales, Helda -
item Vazquez, Luis -
item Legaspi, Jesusa
item Eliopoulos, Panagiotis -
item Hernandez, Luis -

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 28, 2012
Publication Date: June 1, 2013
Citation: Wyckhuys, K., Lu, Y., Morales, H., Vazquez, L.L., Legaspi, J.C., Eliopoulos, P.A., Hernandez, L.M. 2013. Current status and potential of conservation biological control for agriculture in the developing world. Biological Control. 65(1):152-167.

Interpretive Summary: Conservation biological control (CBC) has received marginal research attention outside Western Europe or North America. Thus, in the developing countries, pesticides are overused in many crops and farmers lack safe, affordable and effective control options against insect pests. In this study, we describe the current status of CBC research in various crop production systems outside North America, Australia and Western Europe. We summarize information on 1) a variety of CBC themes related to natural enemy biology and ecology, 2) factors that either disrupt or enhance natural enemy efficacy, and 3) field evaluation of CBC schemes. We indicate potential for well-orchestrated regional CBC projects that make strategic use of historical data, fill information gaps, and wisely employ local (folk) knowledge to integrate CBC into current pest management schemes. Through targeted funding for natural enemy biology and ecology research and continued investment in several promising CBC research initiatives, the true potential of CBC research can be tapped. This work constitutes a first step in drawing a roadmap for CBC research in the developing countries that provides small-scale farmers with safe, low-cost means to control damaging insect pests, safeguard harvests and secure their livelihoods.

Technical Abstract: Conservation biological control (CBC), often described as the field of biological control with the the greatest potential for use in the developing world, has received only marginal, scattered research attention outside Western Europe or North America. Thus, pesticide overuse remains rampant in many cropping systems, while in others, a complete lack of safe, affordable and effective pest control options leaves farmers vulnerable to insect pest damage. In this study, we describe the current status of CBC research in a wide variety of agro-production systems outside North America, Australia and Western Europe. We summarize information on 1) a variety of CBC themes related to natural enemy biology and ecology, 2) factors that either disrupt or enhance natural enemy efficacy, and 3) field evaluation of CBC schemes. For each of the CBC themes, research progress was assessed and opportunities were identified to translate current findings into practical solutions for farmers. A total of 396 CBC-related literature records from 53 different crops and 54 nations are considered. Most CBC research focused on habitat management, with 71 records on general habitat manipulation and 79 records on the effects of inter- or cover crops on natural enemy abundance or efficacy. On a crop level, most research was targeted at rice, maize and cotton. CBC research has been done on various arthropod pests including species with high levels of insecticide resistance such as Chilo suppressalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) and Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Based upon our delineation of the current status of CBC, we indicate potential for well-orchestrated regional CBC projects that make strategic use of historical data, fill information gaps, and wisely employ local (folk) knowledge to pursue higher levels of CBC integration into current pest management schemes. Through targeted funding for natural enemy biology and ecology research and continued investment in several promising CBC research initiatives, the true potential of CBC research can be tapped. This work constitutes a first step in drawing a roadmap for developing-world research that provides small-scale farmers with safe, low-cost means to control damaging insect pests, safeguard harvests and secure their livelihoods.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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