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Hedgerows enhance beneficial insects on adjacent tomato fields in an intensive agricultural landscape

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Abstract

Within-farm habitat enhancements such as hedgerows could aid pest control in adjacent crops; however, there is little information on whether small-scale restoration impacts pests and natural enemies, and crop damage, and how far effects may extend into fields. We compared restored, California native perennial hedgerows to unenhanced field edges consisting of commonly occurring semi-managed, non-native weeds. Pest and natural enemy communities were assessed in both edge types and into adjacent processing tomato fields. Using sentinel pest eggs, pest control was quantified, and pest pressure and crop damage was compared between field types. Economically-important pests were fewer and parasitoid wasps were more abundant in hedgerows than weedy crop edges. There was no difference in predatory arthropod abundance between edge types, but there was greater predator richness in hedgerow than weedy edges. Predatory lady beetles were more abundant and aphids were lower in fields with hedgerows, up to 200 m into fields, the maximum extent of observations. Fewer of the fields adjacent to hedgerows reached threshold pest levels requiring insecticide application. Benefits of hedgerows to pest control from parasitism extended to 100 m but not 200 m into fields. Farm-scale hedgerow restoration can provide pest control benefits up to 100 or 200 m into fields and multiple hedgerows around fields could enhance pest control throughout entire fields, reducing the need for chemical pest control. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Morandin, LA; Long, RF; Kremen, C

Journal: Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Year: 2014

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