Increasing crop diversification with flower strips to improve natural pest control and pollination (DiverIMPACTS Practice Abstract)

Conventional pest control based on the use of synthetic insecticides is very effective, however, this has important negative effects on the environment such as the loss of farmland biodiversity, especially in the group of invertebrates, including many beneficial organisms. Another key problem is the presence of insecticide residues in surface and groundwater or, potentially, in harvested products.

Vibrational communication and mating behavior of the greenhouse whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)

The greenhouse whitefly (GW), Trialeurodes vaporariorum is considered one of the most harmful insect pests in greenhouses worldwide. The GW mating behavior has been partially investigated and its vibrational communication is only in part known. A deeper knowledge of its intraspecific communication is required to evaluate the applicability of control methods based on techniques of behavioral manipulation.

Crop management system and carrot genotype affect endophyte composition and Alternaria dauci suppression (a long-term trial comparing organic and conventional management)

The research article is published in Plos One. Managing pests in carrot production is challenging. Endophytic microbes have been demonstrated to improve the health and productivity of many crops, but factors affecting endophyte dynamics in carrot is still not well understood. The goal of this study was to determine how crop management system and carrot genotype interact to affect the composition and potential of endophytes to mitigate disease caused by Alternaria dauci, an important carrot pathogen.

Agricultural diversification promotes multiple ecosystem services without compromising yield

The research is published in Science Advanced. Enhancing biodiversity in cropping systems is suggested to promote ecosystem services, thereby reducing dependency on agronomic inputs while maintaining high crop yields. We assess the impact of several diversification practices in cropping systems on above- and belowground biodiversity and ecosystem services by reviewing 98 meta-analyses and performing a second-order meta-analysis based on 5160 original studies comprising 41,946 comparisons between diversified and simplified practices.

Annual Wildflower Strips as a Tool for Enhancing Functional Biodiversity in Rye Fields in an Organic Cultivation System

The article is published in Agronomy, and it belongs to the Special Issue Successfully Managing Interdependent Agricultural Landscapes — Processes, Structures and Mechanisms Sustaining the Entire System. Ecological intensification of agriculture (e.g., with the use of wildflower strips) is being currently discussed as a mean for gaining high yields, preserving high biodiversity of farmland.

The effectiveness of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control, pollination services and crop yield: a quantitative synthesis

A quantitative synthesis published in Ecology Letters. Floral plantings are promoted to foster ecological intensification of agriculture through provisioning of ecosystem services. However, a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of different floral plantings, their characteristics and consequences for crop yield is lacking. Here we quantified the impacts of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control (18 studies) and pollination services (17 studies) in adjacent crops in North America, Europe and New Zealand.