Dec 4 ICGC Brown Bag "Reintegrating Ecosystem Services into Agricultural Landscapes"

Friday December 4, 2015  Noon-1pm
537 Heller Hall

Reintegrating Ecosystem Services into Agricultural Landscapes: Conservation Biological Control
Presented by: Hannah L. Gray, Department of Entomology

Abstract: Feeding an estimated 9.7 billion people by mid-century will challenge our ability to derive more food from a finite amount of arable land and resources. Technological advances from the 1970s’ Green Revolution increased yields dramatically, but often at high environmental costs, disrupting many ecosystem services, including watershed regulation, pollination, and pest management. With rates of yield increases for all crops decreasing, achieving food security will require reducing crop losses, particularly to insect herbivores. Despite a nearly 10-fold increase in pesticide use since WWII, crop losses to insects have nearly doubled from 7 to 13%. A possible driver of persistent high herbivory is the disruption in natural enemy function in such simplified agrosystems. Conservation biological control, the deliberate manipulation of agroecosystems to enhance the performance of natural enemies to improve pest management, is often cited as the field of alternative pest management with greatest potential for use in developing countries. Today’s presentation will examine current research seeking to reintegrate ecosystem services, such as conservation biological control, into the agricultural landscape.

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