Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Landscape Change Leads to Increased Insecticide Use in U.S. Midwest

13.07.2011
Growth of cropland, loss of natural habitat to blame

The continued growth of cropland and loss of natural habitat have increasingly simplified agricultural landscapes in the Midwest.

In a study supported in part by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in Michigan--one of 26 such NSF LTER sites around the world--scientists concluded that this simplification is associated with increased crop pest abundance and insecticide use.

"This research suggests that there are simple ecological solutions--such as preservation or restoration of semi-natural lands within large agricultural regions--that could reduce the need for insecticides and contribute to agricultural economies," says Nancy Huntly, NSF program director for the network of LTER sites.

While the relationship between landscape simplification, crop pest pressure and insecticide use has been suggested before, it has not been well supported by empirical evidence, scientists say.

Results of the study, published in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are the first to document a link between simplification and increased insecticide use.

"When you replace natural habitat with cropland, you tend to get more crop pest problems," says lead author Tim Meehan, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison).

He and other authors are affiliated with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, one of three U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers, and with NSF's Kellogg Biological Station LTER site.

"Two things drive this pattern," says Meehan. "As you remove natural habitats, you remove habitat for beneficial predatory insects, and when you create more cropland you make a bigger target for pests--giving them what they need to survive and multiply."

Because landscape simplification has long been assumed to increase pest pressure, Meehan and colleagues were not surprised to find that counties with less natural habitat had higher rates of insecticide use.

One striking finding was that landscape simplification was associated with annual insecticide application to an additional 5,400 square miles--an area the size of Connecticut.

Although simplification of agricultural landscapes is likely to continue, the research suggests that the planting of perennial bioenergy crops--like switchgrass and mixed prairie--can offset some negative effects.

"Perennial crops provide year-round habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and other wildlife, and are critical for buffering streams and rivers from soil erosion and preventing nutrient and pesticide pollution," says Doug Landis, a Michigan State University entomologist and landscape ecologist who's affiliated with the Kellogg Biological Station LTER site.

Perennial grasslands that can be used for bioenergy could also provide biodiversity support, especially beneficial insect support, says Claudio Gratton, a UW-Madison entomologist.

"If we can create agricultural landscapes with increased crop diversity, then perhaps we can increase beneficial insects, reduce pest pressure and reduce the need for chemical inputs into the environment," Gratton says.

"We are at a junction right now," he believes.

"There is increased demand for renewable energy, and one big question is: where it will come from? We hope that these kinds of studies will help us forecast the impacts that bioenergy crops may have on agricultural landscapes."

Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF (703) 292-7734 cdybas@nsf.gov
Margo Broeren, University of Wisconsin-Madison (608) 890-2168 mbroeren@glbrc.wisc.edu
Related Websites
NSF LTER Network: http://www.lternet.edu
NSF Kellogg Biological Station LTER Site: http://www.kbs.msu.edu/
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>