The status of biological control and recommendations for improving uptake for the future

B.I.P. Barratt*, V.C. Moran, F. Bigler, J.C. van Lenteren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

223 Citations (Scopus)


Classical and augmentative biological control of insect pests and weeds has enjoyed a long history of successes. However, biocontrol practices have not been as universally accepted or optimally utilised as they could be. An International Organisation for Biological Control (IOBC) initiative brought together practitioners and researchers from widely diverse fields to identify the main limitations to biocontrol uptake and to recommend means of mitigation. Limitations to uptake included: risk averse and unwieldy regulatory processes; increasingly bureaucratic barriers to access to biocontrol agents; insufficient engagement and communication with the public, stakeholders, growers and politicians of the considerable economic benefits of biocontrol; and fragmentation of biocontrol sub-disciplines. In this contribution we summarise a range of recommendations for the future that emphasise the need for improved communication of economic, environmental and social successes and benefits of biological control for insect pests, weeds and plant diseases, targeting political, regulatory, grower/land manager and other stakeholder interests. Political initiatives in some countries which augur well for biocontrol in the future are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-167
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Access and benefit-sharing
  • Biological control
  • Communication
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • IPM
  • Research approach
  • Risk assessment


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