PODCAST: Forest restoration as a double-edged sword

In this podcast Simon Kärvemo discusses his paper ‘Forest restoration as a double-edged sword: the conflict between biodiversity conservation and pest control’ published today in Journal of Applied Ecology. Forest fires create open patches and dead wood – both factors that favour biodiversity, but using fire as a restoration tool is both risky and requires a lot of work and planning. What if we could … Continue reading PODCAST: Forest restoration as a double-edged sword

The rise and fall of a simple solution

In this post Anna-Sara Liman discusses her recent paper ‘Predator refuges for conservation biological control in an intermediately disturbed system: the rise and fall of a simple solution‘ The first so called willow “energy forests” were planted in Sweden (and the UK) in the early nineties and represent among the first steps towards development of a bioenergy sector and a future bioeconomy. Willows are fast-growing … Continue reading The rise and fall of a simple solution

The ecology behind mosquito–Wolbachia interactions: implications for a novel strategy for biocontrol of arboviruses

In this post Penelope Hancock discusses her paper ‘Density-dependent population dynamics in Aedes aegypti slow the spread of wMel Wolbachia‘ published in Issue 53:3 today. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector of dengue and zika, are the current target of a novel biocontrol strategy involving Wolbachia bacteria. Mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia are less able to transmit viruses to humans. Releases of Wolbachia bacteria into field … Continue reading The ecology behind mosquito–Wolbachia interactions: implications for a novel strategy for biocontrol of arboviruses

Applying fertilizer? Don’t forget about pollination

In this post Stijn van Gils discusses his paper with Wim van der Putten and David Kleijn. ‘Can above-ground ecosystem services compensate for reduced fertilizer input and soil organic matter in annual crops?’ You can also read this post in Dutch. Farmers often try to increase yield directly through ploughing, and the addition of fertilizers and agro-chemicals. Yield, however, is also affected by ecological interactions, … Continue reading Applying fertilizer? Don’t forget about pollination

A more natural method of biocontrol

In this post Associate Editor Yann Clough discusses a paper he recently handled by Mattias Jonsson and colleagues ‘Experimental evidence that the effectiveness of conservation biological control depends on landscape complexity’ Brassica crops worldwide are attacked by a range of herbivorous insects, and frequent insecticide use is common. New research shows that the natural biological control of pests can be achieved by establishing strips of … Continue reading A more natural method of biocontrol

Testing the effectiveness of multiple control methods for pest species

In this post Associate Editor Steven Vamosi discusses a paper he recently handled by Gareth D. Davies and J. Robert Britton ‘Assessing the efficacy and ecology of biocontrol and biomanipulation for managing invasive pest fish’ The threats to native biodiversity are manifold, with the “big three” generally agreed to be, in order of decreasing importance, habitat destruction (i.e. loss, degradation, fragmentation), introduced species, and overharvesting. … Continue reading Testing the effectiveness of multiple control methods for pest species

Natural vegetation and biocontrol in southern Africa

In this post Dominic Henri discusses his recent paper ‘Natural vegetation benefits synergistic control of the three main insect and pathogen pests of a fruit crop in southern Africa‘ You can also find a poster ‘Distance-dependent natural vegetation benefits to the biocontrol of multiple pests and pathogens in South Africa mango farms’ associated with the paper here. It is a widely held view among the … Continue reading Natural vegetation and biocontrol in southern Africa

Safeguarding ecosystem functions of aquatic microbial communities

In this post, Jochen Zubrod talks about his recent paper “Inorganic fungicides as routinely applied in organic and conventional agriculture can increase palatability but reduce microbial decomposition of leaf litter“ The use of fungicides is considered an indispensable measure to secure global food supply. However, as an unwanted consequence of their application, these compounds also enter freshwater ecosystems, where they, due to their mode-of-action, likely affect … Continue reading Safeguarding ecosystem functions of aquatic microbial communities

Silent Spring redux? Insecticides cascade up a food chain to poison carnivores

In this post, Ian Kaplan discusses a paper he recently handled by Margaret Douglas, Jason Rohr and John Tooker “Neonicotinoid insecticide travels through a soil food chain, disrupting biological control of non-target pests and decreasing soybean yield.“. The authors have also written a practitioner summary  and a press release “Insecticides foster ‘toxic’ slugs, reduce crop yields” for this paper. Despite being published >50 years ago, almost everyone … Continue reading Silent Spring redux? Insecticides cascade up a food chain to poison carnivores