A tool for testing integrated pest management strategies on a tritrophic system involving pollen beetle, its parasitoid and oilseed rape at the landscape scale
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- Vinatier, F., Gosme, M. & Valantin-Morison, M. Landscape Ecol (2012) 27: 1421. doi:10.1007/s10980-012-9795-3
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The intensification of agriculture has led to a loss of biodiversity and subsequently to a decrease in ecosystem services, including regulation of pests by natural enemies. Biological regulation of pests is a complex process affected by both landscape configuration and agricultural practices. Although modeling tools are needed to design innovative integrated pest management strategies that consider tritrophic interactions at the landscape scale, landscape models that consider agricultural practices as levers to enhance biological regulation are lacking. To begin filling this gap, we developed a grid-based lattice model called Mosaic-Pest that simulates the spatio-temporal dynamics of Meligethes aeneus, a major pest of oilseed rape, and its parasitoid, Tersilochus heterocerus through a landscape that changes through time according to agricultural practices. The following agricultural practices were assumed to influence the tritrophic system and were included in the model: crop allocation in time and space, ploughing, and trap crop planting. To test the effect of agricultural practices on biological regulation across landscape configurations, we used a complete factorial design with the variables described below and ran long-term simulations using Mosaic-Pest. The model showed that crop rotation and the use of trap crop greatly affected pollen beetle densities and parasitism rates while ploughing had only a small effect. The use of Mosaic-Pest as a tool to select the combination of agricultural practices that best limit the pest population is discussed.