How economic thresholds could improve the uptake of conservation biological control in arable landscape – an industry perspective


Abstract: The management of agricultural landscapes to better support the natural enemies of crops pests is an underused component of integrated pest management (IPM). Natural enemies can slow the rate of pest population growth and help limit economic damage to crops. However, a lack of floral resources, w inter habitat, additional alternative prey, and refuges from harmful crop management at field and landscape scales can reduce their impact. Providing these additional resources will enable natural enemies to make a more reliable and consistent contribution to pest control. To achieve this, farmers need to have confidence in the benefits of supporting natural enemies, and understand how targeted provision of additional resources will help to develop a more robust IPM programmes. This paper summarises evidence of the contribution of natural enemies to the control of key invertebrate arable crop pests, and discusses the additional resources they require. We consider how the impact of natural enemies can be incorporated into arable crop management through greater use of economic thresholds.

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