APPEAL: Assessment and valuation of Pest suppression potential through biological control in European Agricultural Landscapes.

Mattias Jonsson (coordinator & PI)*, Josef Settele (PI)‡ & Michael Traugott (PI)


Since the 1940ies increased agricultural production has modified agricultural landscapes, including destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats, reduction in habitat diversity, and increases in habitat disturbance and agrochemical application. Agricultural intensification is considered a major driver of global biodiversity loss, and has important effects on many ecosystem services. Much recent research has focused on valuating and mapping ecosystem services at various spatial scales, but predictive models that explicitly address how land-use affects ecosystem services mediated by biodiversity are rare.

Biological pest control is one ecosystem service threatened by agricultural intensification. In this proposal, a consortium of three teams will explore the relationships between biodiversity, as mediated by agricultural land-use at different scales, and the structure, diversity and variability of natural enemy-pest-alternative prey food web interactions and the value of biological control.

Our study system will be cereal aphids, which are among the economically most important insect pests in many parts of Europe, and the most important groups of natural enemies of these aphids as well as their non-pest food sources. Based on the vast amount of data already collected by our team we will analyse how local land use and landscape composition affects natural enemy community composition and how historic shifts in natural enemy communities affect biological control. Using up-to-date molecular techniques, food web interactions will be empirically examined under field conditions allowing us to conduct interaction network analyses to investigate how land-use at different scales affects trophic linking and biological control.

These data will feed into a model for biological control of cereal aphids, and facilitate valuations of biological control through monetary and non-monetary methods. Finally, we will map biological control across landscapes in Europe and test how different future land-use scenarios of changed agricultural intensity and landscape structure will influence biological control.

* Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

‡ UFZ Halle, Germany


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