A socioeconomic analysis of biocontrol in integrated pest management: A review of the effects of uncertainty, irreversibility and flexibility

Emmanuel O. Benjamin*, Justus H.H. Wesseler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

European regulations on the sustainable use of pesticides aim to promote integrated pest management (IPM) strategy and the use of biological control agents. However, uncertainty over benefits and costs, irreversibility effects as well as flexibility in adoption of this technology needs to be considered. Economic evaluation of IPM using simple cost-benefit analysis may be inadequate. Therefore, the need to develop evaluation tools that takes the aforementioned constraints into consideration is imperative. To this end, we introduce the maximum incremental social tolerable irreversible costs (MISTICs) as a tool for such evaluation. Only when the incremental reversible benefits of the IPM strategy outweigh possible irreversible costs of such a strategy by a minimum threshold (hurdle rate) should introduction of biocontrol be considered. Our approach allows assessment of an IPM strategy from a private (farmers) point of view to be extended to a social context.We aim to evaluate the MISTICs value of biocontrol adoption for Western Corn Rootworm in maize cultivation and wireworms in potato cultivation for selected European Union member states (Germany, France, Austria, Spain and Italy) based on the option and net present value using the McDonalds-Siegel Stimulation. We also evaluate the potential irreversible costs associated with biocontrol introduction.The farm-level MISTICs per hectare for biocontrol of Western Corn Rootworm in maize cultivation in the selected countries were estimated to be less than €150/ha while biocontrol of wireworms in potato cultivation, well above €200/ha. These results suggest that the introduction of biocontrol for wireworms in potato cultivation, given the higher MISTICs values, is more economically viable compared to the biocontrol of Western Corn Rootworm in maize. The model can also be extended to include other factors such as regulatory hurdles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
Pages (from-to)53-60
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Biocontrol
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • IPM
  • Irreversibility
  • MISTICs
  • Uncertainty

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