Special Issue "Habitat Management in Agroecosystems"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Zsofia Szendrei

Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 348 Food Safety and Toxicology Bldg., 1129 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: chemical ecology; biological control; habitat management; behavioral pest management
Guest Editor
Dr. Amanda Buchanan

Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 348 Food Safety and Toxicology Bldg., 1129 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: species interactions; plant-insect ecology; sustainable agriculture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Increasing habitat diversity in agroecosystems at the local and landscape level can contribute to sustainable crop production. Beneficial insects require resources that are not typically found in monocultures, such as access to diverse pollen resources, shelter, and a stable microclimate. Increasing plant diversity by growing insectary plants in wind breaks and field margins or using conservation tillage practices and mulches can lead to increased pest suppression by natural enemies, improved pollination of crops, and enhanced weed seed predation. These ecosystem services are important for growing food more sustainably and can be used as components of both conventional and organic farming strategies. Articles in this special issue will focus on advances in our understanding of the impacts of habitat diversification in agriculture.

Prof. Dr. Zsofia Szendrei
Dr. Amanda Buchanan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • tillage
  • cover crop
  • landscape
  • diversity
  • habitat
  • weed
  • arthropod
  • beneficial
  • natural enemy
  • predator
  • parasitoid
  • mulch
  • insectary plants
  • flowering hedgerows
  • field margin
  • pest suppression
  • agriculture

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Understanding Barriers to Participation in Cost-Share Programs For Pollinator Conservation by Wisconsin (USA) Cranberry Growers
Insects 2017, 8(3), 79; doi:10.3390/insects8030079
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The expansion of modern agriculture has led to the loss and fragmentation of natural habitat, resulting in a global decline in biodiversity, including bees. In many countries, farmers can participate in cost-share programs to create natural habitat on their farms for the conservation
[...] Read more.
The expansion of modern agriculture has led to the loss and fragmentation of natural habitat, resulting in a global decline in biodiversity, including bees. In many countries, farmers can participate in cost-share programs to create natural habitat on their farms for the conservation of beneficial insects, such as bees. Despite their dependence on bee pollinators and the demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship, participation in such programs by Wisconsin cranberry growers has been low. The objective of this study was to understand the barriers that prevent participation by Wisconsin cranberry growers in cost-share programs for on-farm conservation of native bees. We conducted a survey of cranberry growers (n = 250) regarding farming practices, pollinators, and conservation. Although only 10% of growers were aware of federal pollinator cost-share programs, one third of them were managing habitat for pollinators without federal aid. Once informed of the programs, 50% of growers expressed interest in participating. Fifty-seven percent of growers manage habitat for other wildlife, although none receive cost-share funding to do so. Participation in cost-share programs could benefit from outreach activities that promote the programs, a reduction of bureaucratic hurdles to participate, and technical support for growers on how to manage habitat for wild bees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Habitat Management in Agroecosystems)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Responses of Crop Pests and Natural Enemies to Wildflower Borders Depends on Functional Group
Insects 2017, 8(3), 73; doi:10.3390/insects8030073
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
Increased homogeneity of agricultural landscapes in the last century has led to a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, management practices such as wildflower borders offer supplementary resources to many beneficial arthropods. There is evidence that these borders can increase beneficial arthropod
[...] Read more.
Increased homogeneity of agricultural landscapes in the last century has led to a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, management practices such as wildflower borders offer supplementary resources to many beneficial arthropods. There is evidence that these borders can increase beneficial arthropod abundance, including natural enemies of many pests. However, this increase in local habitat diversity can also have effects on pest populations, and these effects are not well-studied. In this study, we investigated how wildflower borders affect both natural enemies and pests within an adjacent strawberry crop. Significantly more predators were captured in strawberry plantings with wildflower borders versus plantings without wildflowers, but this effect depended on sampling method. Overall, herbivore populations were lower in plots with a wildflower border; however, responses to wildflower borders varied across specific pest groups. Densities of Lygus lineolaris (Tarnished Plant Bug), a generalist pest, increased significantly in plots that had a border, while Stelidota geminata (Strawberry Sap Beetle) decreased in strawberry fields with a wildflower border. These results suggest that wildflower borders may support the control of some pest insects; however, if the pest is a generalist and can utilize the resources of the wildflower patch, their populations may increase within the crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Habitat Management in Agroecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle Do Refuge Plants Favour Natural Pest Control in Maize Crops?
Insects 2017, 8(3), 71; doi:10.3390/insects8030071
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
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Abstract
The use of non-crop plants to provide the resources that herbivorous crop pests’ natural enemies need is being increasingly incorporated into integrated pest management programs. We evaluated insect functional groups found on three refuges consisting of five different plant species each, planted next
[...] Read more.
The use of non-crop plants to provide the resources that herbivorous crop pests’ natural enemies need is being increasingly incorporated into integrated pest management programs. We evaluated insect functional groups found on three refuges consisting of five different plant species each, planted next to a maize crop in Lima, Peru, to investigate which refuge favoured natural control of herbivores considered as pests of maize in Peru, and which refuge plant traits were more attractive to those desirable enemies. Insects occurring in all the plants, including the maize crop itself, were sampled weekly during the crop growing cycle, from February to June 2011. All individuals collected were identified and classified into three functional groups: herbivores, parasitoids, and predators. Refuges were compared based on their effectiveness in enhancing the populations of predator and parasitoid insects of the crop enemies. Refuges A and B were the most effective, showing the highest richness and abundance of both predators and parasitoids, including several insect species that are reported to attack the main insect pests of maize (Spodoptera frugiperda and Rhopalosiphum maidis), as well as other species that serve as alternative hosts of these natural enemies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Habitat Management in Agroecosystems)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview In-Field Habitat Management to Optimize Pest Control of Novel Soil Communities in Agroecosystems
Insects 2017, 8(3), 82; doi:10.3390/insects8030082
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 15 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
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Abstract
The challenge of managing agroecosystems on a landscape scale and the novel structure of soil communities in agroecosystems both provide reason to focus on in-field management practices, including cover crop adoption, reduced tillage, and judicial pesticide use, to promote soil community diversity. Belowground
[...] Read more.
The challenge of managing agroecosystems on a landscape scale and the novel structure of soil communities in agroecosystems both provide reason to focus on in-field management practices, including cover crop adoption, reduced tillage, and judicial pesticide use, to promote soil community diversity. Belowground and epigeal arthropods, especially exotic generalist predators, play a significant role in controlling insect pests, weeds, and pathogens in agroecosystems. However, the preventative pest management tactics that dominate field-crop production in the United States do not promote biological control. In this review, we argue that by reducing disturbance, mitigating the effects of necessary field activities, and controlling pests within an Integrated Pest Management framework, farmers can facilitate the diversity and activity of native and exotic arthropod predators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Habitat Management in Agroecosystems)
Open AccessReview Ecosystem-Based Incorporation of Nectar-Producing Plants for Stink Bug Parasitoids
Insects 2017, 8(3), 65; doi:10.3390/insects8030065
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 17 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
Adult parasitoids of pest insects rely on floral resources for survival and reproduction, but can be food-deprived in intensively managed agricultural systems lacking these resources. Stink bugs are serious pests for crops in southwest Georgia. Provisioning nectar-producing plants for parasitoids of stink bugs
[...] Read more.
Adult parasitoids of pest insects rely on floral resources for survival and reproduction, but can be food-deprived in intensively managed agricultural systems lacking these resources. Stink bugs are serious pests for crops in southwest Georgia. Provisioning nectar-producing plants for parasitoids of stink bugs potentially can enhance biocontrol of these pests. Knowledge of spatial and temporal availability and distribution of stink bugs in host plants is necessary for appropriate timing and placement of flowering plants in agroecosystems. Stink bugs move between closely associated host plants throughout the growing season in response to deteriorating suitability of their host plants. In peanut-cotton farmscapes, stink bugs develop in peanut, and subsequently the adults disperse into adjacent cotton. Parasitism of Nezara viridula (L.) adults by Trichopoda pennipes (F.) at the peanut-cotton interface was significantly higher in cotton with a strip of milkweed or buckwheat between the two crops than in cotton alone. Milkweed and buckwheat also provided nectar to a wide range of insect pollinators. Monarch butterflies fed on milkweed. When placed between peanut and cotton, a strip of soybean was an effective trap crop for cotton, reducing economic damage. Incorporation of buckwheat near soybean enhanced parasitism of Euschistus servus (Say) eggs by Telenomus podisi Ashmead in cotton. In conclusion, nectar provision enhances biocontrol of stink bugs, acts together with other management tactics for stink bug control, and aids in conservation of natural enemies, insect pollinators, and the monarch butterfly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Habitat Management in Agroecosystems)
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