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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Pest Management and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372802

Research Project: Ecologically Based Pest Management in Western Crops Such as Cotton

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: Ecological pest control fortifies agricultural growth in Asia-Pacific economies

Author
item WYCKHUYS, K.A.G - Chrysalis Consulting
item LU, Y.H - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item ZHOU, W.W. - Zhejiang University
item COCK, M.J.W. - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI)
item FURLONG, M.J. - Fujian Agriculture And Forest University
item Naranjo, Steven

Submitted to: Nature Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2020
Publication Date: 8/31/2020
Citation: Wyckhuys, K., Lu, Y., Zhou, W., Cock, M., Furlong, M., Naranjo, S.E. 2020. Ecological pest control fortifies agricultural growth in Asia-Pacific economies. Nature Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01294-y.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-01294-y

Interpretive Summary: Biological control of insect pest has been shown to have immense economic value in many agricultural systems throughout the world. Still, this value is under appreciated by many involved in spurring innovation in and adoption of biological control research and technology. This study attempts to look broadly at the economic impact of classical (introductory) biological control, where a biological control agent from the pest's native range is introduced into a new environment where an exotic pest has become problematic. Many natural enemy introductions have been made to manage 43 insect pests in food, feed and fiber crops in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. But aside from a few isolated studies, the economic value of these introductions, their associated pest control and impacts on local and regional economies have never been quantified. We empirically demonstrate that biological control has ameliorated invasive pest threats in multiple agricultural commodities such as cassava, banana, breadfruit and coconut, resulting in on-farm, annually-accruing benefits of US$ 17.1-22.7 billion. In addition, biological control has promoted rural growth and prosperity even in marginal, poorly endowed, non-rice environments. This research provides lessons for future efforts to mitigate invasive species, restore ecological resilience, and sustainably increase the output of global agri-food systems.

Technical Abstract: The Green Revolution is credited with alleviating famine, mitigating poverty and driving aggregate economic growth since the 1960s. In Asia, high-input technology packages secured a tripling of rice output, with germplasm improvements providing benefits beyond US$4.3'billion'per year. Here, we unveil the magnitude and macro-economic relevance of parallel nature-based contributions to productivity growth in non-rice crops over the period 1918–2018 (across 23 different Asia–Pacific geopolitical entities). We empirically demonstrate how biological control resolved invasive pest threats in multiple agricultural commodities, ensuring annually accruing (on-farm) benefits of US$14.6–19.5'billion per year. Scientifically guided biological control of 43 exotic invertebrate pests permitted 73–100% yield-loss recovery in critical food, feed and fibre crops including banana, breadfruit, cassava and coconut. Biological control thereby promoted rural growth and prosperity even in marginal, poorly endowed, non-rice environments. By placing agro-ecological innovations on equal footing with input-intensive measures, our work provides lessons for future efforts to mitigate invasive species, restore ecological resilience and sustainably raise output of global agrifood systems.