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Insects 2018, 9(1), 2; doi:10.3390/insects9010002

Investigating the (Mis)Match between Natural Pest Control Knowledge and the Intensity of Pesticide Use

1
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany
2
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 8 November 2017 / Accepted: 24 December 2017 / Published: 5 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Pest Control in Orchards and Vineyards)
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Abstract

Transforming modern agriculture towards both higher yields and greater sustainability is critical for preserving biodiversity in an increasingly populous and variable world. However, the intensity of agricultural practices varies strongly between crop systems. Given limited research capacity, it is crucial to focus efforts to increase sustainability in the crop systems that need it most. In this study, we investigate the match (or mismatch) between the intensity of pesticide use and the availability of knowledge on the ecosystem service of natural pest control across various crop systems. Using a systematic literature search on pest control and publicly available pesticide data, we find that pest control literature is not more abundant in crops where insecticide input per hectare is highest. Instead, pest control literature is most abundant, with the highest number of studies published, in crops with comparatively low insecticide input per hectare but with high world harvested area. These results suggest that a major increase of interest in agroecological research towards crops with high insecticide input, particularly cotton and horticultural crops such as citrus and high value-added vegetables, would help meet knowledge needs for a timely ecointensification of agriculture. View Full-Text
Keywords: agroecology; agricultural intensity; biological pest control; crop; ecological intensification; insecticides; study system agroecology; agricultural intensity; biological pest control; crop; ecological intensification; insecticides; study system
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Mall, D.; Larsen, A.E.; Martin, E.A. Investigating the (Mis)Match between Natural Pest Control Knowledge and the Intensity of Pesticide Use. Insects 2018, 9, 2.

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