Biodiversity of Beneficials in Insect Pest Control Systems

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Biodiversity as a factor in pest control varies widely between countries and areas of the world. Introduction strategies in classical biological control typically center on the full range of beneficials attacking the target pest throughout the world, with the aim to find, select, and use the most promissive agents from the world complex.

The introduction of broad-spectrum pesticides starting with DDT contributed to a strong demand for pest-free crops. Resistance to pesticides and pest resurgence connected with natural enemy losses, however, led to the development of integrated pest management (IPM) (Stern et al., 1959; van den Bosch and Stern, 1962; Smith and Reynolds, 1966) and, more recently, alternative pest management emphasizing ecologically adapted and biorationally based approaches to the exclusion of synthetic pesticides uses (U.S. National Research Council, 1989; Vereijken, 1989).

Additionally, sustainable agriculture initiatives stimulated efforts to increase and maintain greater biodiversity through landscape protection of fauna and flora, e.g., introduction of grassland meadows in place of arable land (Petr and Dlouhy, 1992). Diversity, its support and enhancement through species richness, rotations, intercropping, cover crops, etc., is one of the basic principles of agroecology in sustainable agriculture systems (Thrupp, 1996).

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