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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1137: International Symposium on Innovation in Integrated and Organic Horticulture (INNOHORT)

Insights into the ecological control of pests in horticulture

Authors:   F. Lescourret, C. Poncet, S. Simon
Keywords:   trophic network, niche, dispersal, natural enemy, biotic interaction, planned biodiversity, management practice
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1137.14
In horticulture, stringent market requirements regarding the visual quality of products have led to the intensive use of pesticides worldwide. The immediate need for environmentally-friendly pest control, already embodied in the development of IPM, is exacerbated by pressing social demands and policy contexts. At the same time, the scientific community is increasingly interested in new disciplinary branches and concepts such as agroecology, ecosystem services and ecological intensification that create an opportunity to develop new approaches to pest control research. A conceptual framework is presented that addresses the issue of the ecological control of pests in horticulture. It is based on key ecological concepts - trophic network, biotic interactions, niche and dispersal. This framework stresses the trophic and non-trophic interactions that occur between the components of three trophic levels - plants, pests and natural enemies. It highlights the effect of agroecosystem management on these components, namely on the niche dimensions and dispersal of pests and enemies, and its consequences on pest control. This management includes the addition of plant or animal biodiversity, as well as practices to control the functioning of this planned biodiversity. Examples taken from greenhouse and orchard studies illustrate the salient points of the conceptual framework. This approach has a high potential in horticultural systems where there is the possibility to combine various sources of biodiversity and various technical levers. However, more knowledge about the functioning of target ecological networks is required to improve its robustness. In addition, a major current challenge that makes this approach more difficult is the necessity to consider the ecological control of pests within a set of multiple agroecosystem services to be managed.

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