Joy Delos Reyes, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
Ecological engineering (EE) was introduced in rice pest management in 2008 (Heong and Hardy 2009) to restore biodiversity and resilience to secondary pest outbreaks such as planthoppers and leaf folders. First experiments started in Jin Hua, China ( in 2009 followed by further experiments in Vietnam and Thailand. More recently a new project LEGATO was launched in 3 sites in the Philippines.
In its continuing commitment to attain food security and reduce poverty through sustainable technology-based agriculture and fisheries sector, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) under the Department of Agriculture (DA) of the Philippines recently approved the project “Developing Ecological Engineering Approaches to Restore and Conserve Ecosystem Services for Pest Management for Sustainable Rice Production in the Philippines.” This 2-year project initiated by activities of the ADB-IRRI Planthopper Project, is in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and will be undertaken in selected sites in Laguna, Regional Agricultural Research Centers in Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro.
Ecological engineering aims at enhancing biodiversity through providing food and shelter resources to predators and conserving biodiversity through reducing insecticide use. These two pillars of EE can build up natural enemies and restore important ecosystem services and resilience that are vital in reducing vulnerability to planthopper outbreaks. The Project will focus on capacity building of Filipino researchers and pest management practitioners with EE concepts and techniques to increase ecological functions. In addition training on basic principles of insect ecology and sampling methods as well as arthropod taxonomy and identification will also be provided. The Project will also provide opportunities to Filipino partners to exchange experiences with EE practitioners in China, Thailand and Vietnam. The training and research of the 2 year Project will help prepare DA to scale up EE to Filipino rice farmers to enhance adoption through the use of communication media, like TV series and media campaigns.