Landscape Structure and Biological Control in Agroecosystems

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Science  06 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5429, pp. 893-895
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5429.893

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Biological pest control has primarily relied on local improvements in populations of natural enemies, but landscape structure may also be important. This is shown here with experiments at different spatial scales using the rape pollen beetle (Meligethes aeneus), an important pest on oilseed rape (Brassica napus). The presence of old field margin strips along rape fields was associated with increased mortality of pollen beetles resulting from parasitism and adjacent, large, old fallow habitats had an even greater effect. In structurally complex landscapes, parasitism was higher and crop damage was lower than in simple landscapes with a high percentage of agricultural use.

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