Keywords

spatially-explicit modelling, spatial ecology, biological control, ecosystem services, transition processes, sustainability

Start Date

1-7-2012 12:00 AM

Description

This study integrates field-based survey data with spatially-explicitsimulation modelling to assess the relative benefits of different landscapemanagement strategies for sustainable agricultural practice. We focus on the roleof native vegetation remnants in Australian agricultural landscapes in harbouringpests and beneficial insects for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Nativevegetation remnants exist in most agricultural regions of Australia, although theirextent and composition varies greatly. Field-based surveys conducted in 2010 and2011 across three states provide important information on source habitats for pestsand natural enemies and their movement between habitats during the croppingseason. Building on this novel information, spatially-explicit simulation models wereconstructed integrating natural enemy life history traits, dispersal behaviour andhabitat use, to examine the implications for pest and beneficial insects of modifyingagricultural landscapes for IPM. Computer simulated landscapes were modified bymanipulating the amount, quality and composition of native vegetation. We use themodels to identify landscape designs associated with effective top-downsuppression of pest populations by natural enemies. Throughout the project,stakeholders (farmers, agronomists and policy makers) have been activelyengaged to advise the project about IPM options that are compatible with currentfarming systems, and to regularly communicate the findings of the field studies,model development and potential management plans. The findings of theexperimental work and the modelling are combined to produce a set of guidingprinciples for IPM practices that consider the landscape context. This will allowfarmers to (i) increase their benefit from the ecosystem service of pest control, and(ii) enhance the sustainable use and management of natural resources. This workhas potential to influence agricultural land use policy in Australia, with further workplanned to model the implications of landscape change and non-crop habitatmanagement strategies for multiple ecosystem services.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

The use of models to design pest suppressive landscapes for sustainable agricultural practice

This study integrates field-based survey data with spatially-explicitsimulation modelling to assess the relative benefits of different landscapemanagement strategies for sustainable agricultural practice. We focus on the roleof native vegetation remnants in Australian agricultural landscapes in harbouringpests and beneficial insects for Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Nativevegetation remnants exist in most agricultural regions of Australia, although theirextent and composition varies greatly. Field-based surveys conducted in 2010 and2011 across three states provide important information on source habitats for pestsand natural enemies and their movement between habitats during the croppingseason. Building on this novel information, spatially-explicit simulation models wereconstructed integrating natural enemy life history traits, dispersal behaviour andhabitat use, to examine the implications for pest and beneficial insects of modifyingagricultural landscapes for IPM. Computer simulated landscapes were modified bymanipulating the amount, quality and composition of native vegetation. We use themodels to identify landscape designs associated with effective top-downsuppression of pest populations by natural enemies. Throughout the project,stakeholders (farmers, agronomists and policy makers) have been activelyengaged to advise the project about IPM options that are compatible with currentfarming systems, and to regularly communicate the findings of the field studies,model development and potential management plans. The findings of theexperimental work and the modelling are combined to produce a set of guidingprinciples for IPM practices that consider the landscape context. This will allowfarmers to (i) increase their benefit from the ecosystem service of pest control, and(ii) enhance the sustainable use and management of natural resources. This workhas potential to influence agricultural land use policy in Australia, with further workplanned to model the implications of landscape change and non-crop habitatmanagement strategies for multiple ecosystem services.