K.L. Heong, J. Catindig, S. Villareal, J Delos Reyes, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
Ecological engineering (EE) concepts were first introduced into rice pest management in 2008 by Professor Geoff Gurr at the International Rice Planthopper Conference held at IRRI, Los Banos, Philippines. EE focuses on increasing functional biodiversity to enhance ecosystem services and on conserving naturally occurring biological control services. The balance created would reduce the vulnerability of rice crops to insect pest infestations, especially pest outbreaks of leaf folders and planthoppers. In the past 3 years, research partners from China, Thailand and Vietnam research and upscaling activities to introduce these concepts to pest management scientists, extension, policy makers and to rice farmers. A series of standard research techniques in ecology as well as in social sciences were developed and the same protocols have been applied. The research protocols are found in https://ricehoppers.net/research-protocols/ . As the Rice Planthopper Project is nearing its completion, two data analysis workshops have been organized to consolidate data sets and perform within and cross country analyses.
The cross country data analysis workshop of the upscaling data collected in a series of pre and post interventions was held in Bangkok, Thailand June 20 – 22, 2013. At the hands-on workshop participants from China, Thailand and Vietnam conducted analyses of the respective data sets using SPSS tools. In comparing changes in farmers’ practices and attitudes, the key dependent variable used was the number of insecticide sprays applied. A psychometric framework was applied in measuring famers’ beliefs and the belief scores were consolidated into two belief indices related to pest management (PMBel) and ecological engineering adoption (EEBel). Since a standardized set of items have been used in the surveys conducted in China, Thailand and Vietnam, these indices may be used for cross country analyses. Favorable changes in attitudes of farmers have been consistently shown from the pre – post data sets in China, Thailand and Vietnam.
The cross country data synthesis workshop of the ecological engineering data was held in IRRI, Los Baños, Philippines July 29 – 31, 2013. A similar hands-on approach was used and participants from China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines worked on their respective data sets. Arthropod data collected in 2010, 2011 and 2012 from EE sites in China, Thailand and Vietnam were analyzed using GLM available in GENSTAT and inferences were drawn from the analyses. Biodiversity analysis was introduced and participants sorted their data sets captured in Excel into functional groups and computed biodiversity indices such as species richness using ecological statistical software ECOSIM. Additional analyses were performed using EstimateS.
The data sets will be further “cleaned” up for further statistical analyses in Australia and in IRRI.