Manipulation of Agricultural Habitats to Improve Conservation Biological Control in South America

  • A. Peñalver-CruzEmail author
  • J. K. Alvarez-Baca
  • A. Alfaro-Tapia
  • L. Gontijo
  • B. LavanderoEmail author
Forum Section


Stable and diversified agroecosystems provide farmers with important ecosystem services, which are unfortunately being lost at an alarming rate under the current conventional agriculture framework. Nevertheless, this concern can be tackled by using ecological intensification as an alternative strategy to recuperate ecosystem services (e.g., biological control of pests). To this end, the manipulation of agricultural habitats to enhance natural enemy conservation has been widely explored and reported in Western Europe and North America, whereas in other parts of the world, the investigation of such topic is lagging behind (e.g., South America). In this forum, we gathered published and unpublished information on the different ecological habitat management strategies that have been implemented in South America and their effects on pest control. Additionally, we identify the various challenges and analyze the outlook for the science of conservation biological control in South America. More specifically, we reviewed how different agricultural practices and habitat manipulation in South America have influenced pest management through natural enemy conservation. The main habitat manipulations reported include plant diversification (intercropping, insectary plants, agroforestry), conservation and management of non-crop vegetation, and application of artificial foods. Overall, we noticed that there is a significant discrepancy in the amount of research on conservation biological control among South American countries, and we found that, although intercropping, polycultures, and crop rotation have been reported in agroecosystems since pre-Inca times, more systematic studies are required to evaluate the true effects of habitat management to implement conservation biological control for pest control in South America.


Ecosystem services agroecosystems agricultural diversification natural enemies intercropping 



The authors are grateful to the researchers, farmers, and agronomy advisors who provided information about conservation biological control in the different countries of South America.

Author Contribution Statement

APC, JKAB, AAT, LG, and BL drafted the manuscript and searched for studies in the different regions. All authors have read and approved the manuscript.

Funding Information

BL was funded by the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (Fondecyt) Regular Grant N°1140632, and LG was funded by the “Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais”—FAPEMIG (grant FORTIS-TCT-10254/2014). In addition, JKAB was funded by the CONICYT PFCHA/BECAS DE DOCTORADO NACIONAL/2018—21181816, and AAT received a doctoral grant from the Talca University (Chile).

Supplementary material

13744_2019_725_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (21 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lab de Control Biológico, Instituto de Ciencias BiológicasUniv de TalcaTalcaChile
  2. 2.Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias Agrarias, Facultad de Ciencias AgrariasUniv de TalcaTalcaChile
  3. 3.UMR-CNRS 6553 ECOBIO (Écosystèmes, Biodiversité, Évolution)Univ de Rennes 1 (UNIR)RennesFrance
  4. 4.Dept of Management and Conservation of Natural and Agricultural EcosystemsUniv Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrasil

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