Geoff Gurr, Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia
Biodiversity offers great potential for managing insect pests. It provides resistance genes and anti-insect compounds; a huge range of predatory and parasitic natural enemies of pests; and community ecology-level effects operating at the local and landscape scales to check pest build-up. The new book ‘Biodiversity and Insect Pests: Key Issues for Sustainable Management’ brings together world leaders in theoretical, methodological and applied aspects to provide a comprehensive treatment of this fast-moving field. Chapter authors from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas ensure a truly international scope. Topics range from scientific principles, innovative research methods, ecological economics and effective communication to farmers, as well as case studies of successful use of biodiversity-based pest management some of which extend over millions of hectares or are enshrined as government policy. Written to be accessible to advance undergraduates whilst also stimulating the seasoned researcher, this work will help unlock the power of biodiversity to deliver sustainable insect pest management.
Several of the chapters deal with rice pest management. The chapter on Ecological engineering strategies to manage insect pests in rice by Geoff M. Gurr, K.L. Heong, J.A. Cheng and J. Catindig discusses the three planks for ecological engineering in rice. These are 1) Moderating insecticide use, especially early in the season; 2) Enhancing generalist natural enemies by building up detritivores and 3) Enhancing parasitoids by nectar flowers on the bunds.
In order to protect the rice crops from invading pests, biodiversity conservation and enhancement will need to be practiced by farmers in hundreds and thousands. The chapter by M.M. Escalada and K.L. Heong describes the use of decision theory (bounded rationality and heuristics) and sociological tools to facilitate adoption, like farmer experiments and developing communication media. The 6 phases in the pathway to impact used to facilitate farmer adoption is described. Experiences from the implementation of “3 reductions 3 gains” program that has contributed to Vietnam’s success in managing planthoppers are also discussed. The chapter by Finbarr Horgan discusses diversity and defence in plant–herbivore interactions at multiple scales and trophic levels. Another chapter by Felix L. Wäckers and Paul C.J. van Rijn on “Pick and mix: selecting flowering plants to meet the requirements of target biological control insects” provides details on the selection of flowers. Ecological economics of biodiversity use for pest management is discussed by Mark Gillespie and Steve D. Wratten.
The new book is available from John Wiley & Sons.