Ecological engineering: a new direction for agricultural pest management

Geoffrey Gurr, Steve Wratten, Mark Altieri

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Ecological engineering has recently emerged as a paradigm for considering pest management approaches that are based on cultural practices and informed by ecological knowledge rather than on high technology approaches such as synthetic pesticides and genetically engineered crops (Gurr et al. 2004a). This article provides a brief summary of ecological engineering for arthropod pest management and contrasts it with its controversial cousin, genetic engineering. The development of ecological engineering is explored, ranging from a simple first approximation that diversity is beneficial, to contemporary understanding that diversity can have adverse effects on pest management. This requires that the functional mechanisms that lead components of biodiversity to suppress pest activity are better understood and exploited. Pest suppression via ecological engineering is placed in the broader context of 'ecosystem services' provided by farmland biodiversity including nitrogen fixation and the conservation of pollinator species and wildlife.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalAFBM Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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