Effects of land use and insecticides on natural enemies of aphids in cotton: First evidence from smallholder agriculture in the North China Plain

K. Zhou, J. Huang, X. Deng, W. van der Werf, W. Zhang, Y. Lu, K. Wu, F. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies conducted in the USA and Europe have shown that diverse landscapes in general support greaternatural enemy abundance. No quantitative evidence on the relationship between land use diversity andnatural enemies has been reported from developing countries, where fields and farms are much smallerthan in modernized agriculture in the west, and where insecticide use is often high and indiscriminate.This paper examines the effects of land use and farmers’ insecticide application on natural enemies ofaphids in cotton production, based on a unique dataset that links household and cotton field surveys toa detailed assessment of land uses in the landscapes surrounding the cotton fields in the North ChinaPlain (NCP), a major grain and cotton production region in China. Our results show that, in the NCP wherefarms are small and landscape is dominated by a few crops, Shannon or Simpson land use diversity indexis not a good indicator for explaining the relationship between land use and densities of aphid naturalenemies. Instead, the types and proportions of cropland habitat mattered. Landscapes with more maizeand grassland have higher ladybeetle populations in cotton fields. Farmers’ pest management practicessuch as the amount and timing of insecticide use significantly affect ladybeetle densities. These resultsimply that there is a need to recognize the potential positive role of cropland use in pest managementand call for more judicious insecticide use strategies by smallholder farmers in the North China Plain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-184
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume183
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • coccinella-septempunctata
  • biocontrol services
  • landscape diversity
  • bt cotton
  • coleoptera
  • management
  • pest
  • biodiversity
  • parasitism
  • varieties

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