Enhanced pest control in cabbage crops near forest in The Netherlands
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- Bianchi, F.J.J.A., Goedhart, P.W. & Baveco, J.M. Landscape Ecol (2008) 23: 595. doi:10.1007/s10980-008-9219-6
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Landscapes are composed of a multitude of habitat types which, potentially, can influence natural enemy populations. The contribution of specific habitat types to sustaining natural enemy populations in agricultural landscapes and the associated ecosystem service of pest control is not well understood. We investigated how landscape composition affected parasitism rates in 22 organic Brussels sprout fields in The Netherlands. Second and third instar larvae of Plutella xylostella were placed on experimental Brussels sprout plants in Brussels sprout fields and were recovered after two days in the field. Parasitism rates ranged between 4 and 94% and were related to landscape variables at a scale of 0.3, 1, 2 and 10 km. Univariate analysis using a generalized linear mixed model indicated that parasitism rates were positively related with area of forests at a scale of 1, 2 and 10 km, forest edges at a scale of 1 and 2 km and road verges at a scale of 1 km. Forest and road verges are likely to provide food and alternative hosts for parasitoids and are less disturbed habitats than agricultural fields. These results suggest that forests and road verges may play an important role in sustaining effective densities of parasitoids of P. xylostella in agricultural landscapes.