Submitted to: Frontiers in Agronomy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2023
Publication Date: 6/14/2023
Citation: Gerken, A.R., Morrison III, W.R. 2023. Viewing Farm2Fork agriculture through the lens of community ecology: The who, why, and what of IPM in the postharvest agricultural supply chain. Frontiers in Agronomy. 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2023.1137683.
Interpretive Summary: The postharvest environment is a dynamic ecosystem influenced by living and non-living components. Environmental influences include differences in landscapes, temperature, and humidity in or near warehouses, processing facilities, and storage and shipping containers can influence the ability to stored product insects to colonize and thrive in an area. In addition, interactions with other insects and living organisms in stored product environments matter greatly. Understanding how environmental factors, population levels, species richness and diversity, and behavior and physiology interact to shape the composition and diversity of insect communities in stored product environments is critical to developing better management tactics. Stored products are often colonized by a variety of different pest species and most pest management tactics are designed to control a single species. However, tactics that focus on reducing the population of a single species can disrupt the ecosystem and potentially allow the populations of other pest species to flourish, resulting in more product losses and economic damage. Thus, a better understanding of stored product ecosystems will lead to effective and holistic IPM tactics that can simultaneously regulate multiple species. This review focuses on the current state of the knowledge of community ecology for stored product insects and identifies important knowledge gaps that need to be filled regarding insect movement, species interactions, energy flow, behavior, and effects of climate change. Filling these knowledge gaps will significantly improve the management of stored product insects and can help reduce the associated time and costs.
Technical Abstract: The environment in which postharvest crops are processed and stored is a dynamic ecosystem influenced by abiotic and biotic factors. Abiotic influences such as variation in landscapes, temperature, and humidity in or near warehouses, processing facilities, storage and shipping containers, and urban and agricultural settings can drive changes in ecosystem processes for insects living in a postharvest system. Principles of community ecology can help to tease apart broad interactions among the environment and biotic components, including better understanding aspects of succession in bulk grain, interactions with conspecifics that leads to competition and niche partitioning, trends in behavioral ecology, and physiology and developmental changes. Focusing on these concepts for integrated pest management (IPM) for stored product insect pests can help pest managers to better predict risk thresholds and develop targeted approaches for treatments. Here we present a review of work in stored product insect pests from the lens of community ecology and how we can use what we know about species interactions and variation to better develop and implement IPM, including incorporating movement, species interactions, energy transfer models in succession, behavior, and effects of climate change. Implementing these concepts will significantly improve the broader scope of managing these insects and can help reduce time and cost associated with managing and treating for insect infestations.