Decision-Support Tools for Pest Control

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Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Daniel Karp, University of California, Davis
Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Stanford University
Associated Program: 

One of our greatest challenges is increasing agricultural yields while reversing degradation of biodiversity and Earth’s life-support systems. A promising approach that has not yet reached its potential involves managing land to enhance the flow of ecosystem services from natural habitats around farms. In particular, conserving natural habitat to support predators of crop pests is an unrealized win-win for biodiversity and farmers, as arthropod pests destroy 8–15% of major food crops. We seek to develop the scientific foundation for incorporating pest control into resource decisions through building a compelling evidence base, packaging science into practical tools for decision-makers, and demonstrating their efficacy using field data. Specifically, we will compile a global, spatially-referenced dataset documenting pest colonization and suppression on socially and economically important crops. This dataset will be used to build simple, statistical models relating changes in landscape composition to pest abundance indices, crop damage, and economic loss. Models will be tested against field data provided by our group members, and integrated into an open-access, ecosystem-service modeling platform (InVEST) developed by the Natural Capital Project. Such spatial models do not yet exist for pest control, but have been developed for other services to guide major natural resource decisions. For example, InVEST is being used to implement a new reserve system spanning >25% of China to secure natural capital and human wellbeing. The Natural Capital Project is working in over 20 countries and would use our tools in important policy decisions in the short term.

Fabrice DeClerck, Bioversity International
Claudio Gratton, University of Wisconsin Madison
Lauren Hunt, University of Maryland
Tony Ives, University of Wisconsin Madison
Mattias Jonsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Ashley Larsen, University of California Santa Barbara
Emily Martin, University of Würzburg
Alejandra Martinez Salinas, CATIE
Tim Meehan, National Ecological Observatory Network
Erik Nelson, Bowdoin College
Megan O'Rourke, Virginia Tech
Katja Poveda, Cornell University
Adena Rissman, University of Wisconsin Madison
Brian Robinson, McGill University
Jay Rosenheim, University of California Davis
Adrien Rusch, French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Nancy Schellhorn, CSIRO
Teja Tscharntke, University of Göttingen
Steve Wratten, Lincoln University
Wei Zhang, International Food Policy Research Institute
Emily Poppenborg, University of Würzburg
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