Effective on-farm biological control can slow the pace of deforestation and avert biodiversity loss. This is what an international team involving entomologists, conservation biologists, agro-ecologists and geographers* has just revealed.
The results of this study have been published in Communications Biology – Nature.
Biological control of invasive species is often perceived as an environmentally risky practice. Yet it can restore crop yields and ease agricultural pressure on the environment, while contributing to forest conservation. This is the conclusion of an article just published by an international team, which includes CIRAD, in Communications Biology – Nature. This paper illustrates the positive impacts of a biological control process implemented in Southeast Asia against the cassava mealybug, Phenacoccus manihoti (Hemiptera).
Expansion of the agricultural frontier is reduced after biological control
The cassava mealybug, which arrived in Thailand in 2009, caused a decline of almost 20% in yields of cassava, a crop grown on around 4 million ha in Southeast Asia. This triggered sharp increases in cassava prices and an expansion of crop surfaces, to the detriment of forests. Deforestation rates subsequently doubled, and even increased six-fold in the neighbouring countries. In 2010, the authorities introduced the host-specific parasitic wasp Anagyrus lopezi (Hymenoptera): the damage caused by the mealybug was reduced, the area needed for cassava crops contracted, and the pace of deforestation slowed.
“Thanks to almost real-time satellite imagery combined with statistical analyses, we have observed a 31-95% reduction in deforestation”, says Kris Wyckhuys, an agro-ecologist at the University of Queensland (Australia) and IPP-CAAS (China), and coordinator of the study. The scientists conclude that well-targeted biological control of crop pests increases yields and thereby avoids agricultural expansion and deforestation.
Biological control to preserve biodiversity
“This study confirms the importance of collaboration between conservation biologists and crop protection scientists in order to address the pest problems encountered by farmers” , says Kris Wyckhuys. Such agro-ecological approaches reconcile invasive species mitigation, biodiversity conservation and profitable farming. “By opting for biological control rather than pesticides, farmers defuse pest problems, enhance the profitability of their operations and concurrently become stewards of the environment”, says Jean-Philippe Deguine of CIRAD, co-author of the paper.
The Latest on: Biological control
via Google News
The Latest on: Biological control
- AgBiTech and GAIL enter distribution agreement for Fawligen biological control for Fall Armyworm in Nigeriaon January 8, 2021 at 4:40 pm
Farmers in Nigeria, the first country where Fall Armyworm (FAW) was detected in Africa in 2016, will soon get access to a biological tool that will prevent an infestation of the invasive pest. The ...
- Spotted wing drosophila's Asian foe found in Washingtonon December 21, 2020 at 3:59 pm
“We’d love to have some biological control,” she said. “Entomologists as a group tend to be very pro biological control.” The USDA estimates SWD costs farmers $550 million a yea ...
- Our View: Ash Borer: State should continue slowing spreadon December 21, 2020 at 3:02 am
It’s good news, however, that the USDA will dedicate resources to biological control research, such as determining predators that destroy the borer. We think it’s the right move that the ...
- Biological Control Released At Martha Sundquist State Forest To Protect Hemlockson December 19, 2020 at 4:00 pm
“We will monitor these beetles over the next couple of years in hopes that they will reproduce, become an established population, and continue to prey on HWA in order to eventually control the ...
- Import and release of biological control agents into Canadaon December 17, 2020 at 4:01 pm
Biological control agents are insects, mites, nematodes and other organisms used to control plant pests such as weeds or insects. Despite their potential benefits for managing pests, they present a ...
- Study shows the impact of genetic diversity on effective alligatorweed controlon December 15, 2020 at 9:49 am
A biological control program launched in the late 1960s reduced the prevalence of the invader, but the results varied geographically. A multidisciplinary research team recently explored whether ...
- Kenya launches first insect quarantine facility in the regionon December 14, 2020 at 5:04 am
The first insect quarantine facility in East and Central Africa has been launched in Kenya. The facility becomes the second in Africa after South Africa. Built and equipped at a cost of Sh40 ...
- Studies in Biological Controlon December 13, 2020 at 1:16 pm
The best alternative to chemical control is often seen as being biological control - the introduction of natural enemies in areas where foreign pests become abundant. However, biological control alone ...
- Specialized species key to safe biological controlon August 3, 2020 at 4:03 pm
Biological control saved the wiliwili trees. When a leaf-gall forming wasp showed up in Hawaii, native wiliwili trees began to decline. The pest wasp is still here, but thanks to the careful ...
via Bing News