Spatial variability in ecosystem services: which predator does best where?


Abstract: Agricultural pest control often relies on the ecosystem services provided by thepredators of pests. Appropriate landscape and habitat management for pest control servicesrequires an understanding of insect dispersal abilities and the spatial arrangement of sourcehabitats for pests and their predators. Here we explore how dispersal and habitat configurationdetermine the locations where management actions are likely to have the biggest impact onnatural pest control using a spatially explicit simulation model for four typical, but different,predator groups. Predator groups represented trait combinations of poor and good dispersalability, and density independent and density dependent aggregation responses towards pests.We show that the spatial arrangement of source habitats for natural enemies of agriculturalpest species can have profound effects on their potential to colonize crops and suppress pestpopulations. Nevertheless, mobile and strongly aggregating predators provide the best pestsuppression in the majority of landscape types.

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