Pest control ~ Landscape complexity

Image: Fig 1 from Rusch et al. (2016) Agric Ecosyst Environ. It’s well demonstrated that increased habitat complexity tends to increase arthropod biodiversity and, importantly, the abundance of natural enemies. Therefore, it is thought that increasing complexity in agricultural landscapes should increase the level of pest control too. But is this true? Does increased landscape complexity actually result in fewer pests? There have been a few great studies that have looked at this question (e.g. Gardiner…

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Support for intermediate landscape complexity hypothesis (Jonsson et al. 2015)

Image: Representation of the ‘intermediate landscape-complexity hypothesis’ from Tscharntke et al. (2012). With agricultural intensification pushing to provide more food, bioenergy, and other products for a growing human population, there is also a great need for concurrent intensification of ecological services like biological control of pest insects. There have been many strategies tried over the years to increase ecosystem services on farms, for example planting flower strips with the intent of providing extra resources for biological control…

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