Landscape drivers of pests and pathogens abundance in arable crops

T.C.M. Delaune, M. Ouattara, R. Ballot, C. Sausse, I. Felix, F. Maupas, M. Chen, M. Morison, D. Makowski, C. Barbu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Farmers’ use of fungicides and insecticides constitutes a major threat to biodiversity that is also endangering agriculture itself. Landscapes could be designed to take advantage of the dependencies of pests, pathogens and their natural enemies on elements of the landscape. Yet the complexity of the interactions makes it difficult to establish general rules. In our study, we sought to characterize the impact of the landscape on pest and pathogen prevalence, taking into account both crop and semi-natural areas. We drew on a nine-year national survey of 30 major pests and pathogens of arable crops, distributed throughout the latitudes of metropolitan France. We performed binomial LASSO generalized linear regressions on the pest and pathogen prevalence as a function of the landscape composition in a total of 39 880 field × year × pest observation series. We observed a strong disequilibrium between the number of pests or pathogens favored (15) and disadvantaged (2) by the area of their host crop in the landscape during the previous growing season. The impact of the host crop area during the ongoing growing season was different on pests than on pathogens: the density of most pathogens increased (11 of 17, and no decreases) while the density of a small majority of pests decreased (7 of 13, and four increases). We also found that woodlands, scrublands, hedgerows and grasslands did not have a consistent effect on the studied spectrum of pests and pathogens. Although overall the estimated effect of the landscape is small compared to the effect of the climate, a territorial coordination that generally favors crop diversity but excludes a crop at risk in a given year might prove useful in reducing pesticide use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1442
Number of pages14
Issue number10
Early online date29 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • crop pathogens
  • crop pests
  • crop protection
  • landscape composition


Dive into the research topics of 'Landscape drivers of pests and pathogens abundance in arable crops'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this