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Economic valuation of natural pest control of the summer grain aphid in wheat in South East England

Zhang, H., Garratt, M. P. D., Bailey, A., Potts, S. G. and Breeze, T. (2018) Economic valuation of natural pest control of the summer grain aphid in wheat in South East England. Ecosystem Services, 30 (A). pp. 149-157. ISSN 2212-0416

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2018.02.019

Abstract/Summary

Wheat (Triticum spp.) is the most important arable crop grown in the UK, and the grain aphid (Sitobion avenae) is one of the key pests of this crop. Natural enemies could help suppress grain aphid and reduce unnecessary insecticide inputs, but few studies have estimated the economic value of natural pest control in this crop-pest system, which could help inform effective integrated pest management strategies. Based on a natural enemy exclusion experiment carried out in South East England, this study used an economic surplus model to estimate the value of predators and parasitoids to control summer grain aphid in wheat in this region. Incorporating three levels of spray intensity and three levels of pest infestation, the annual economic value of natural pest control service was conservatively estimated to be £0-2.3 Million. Under the medium pest infestation level, a 10% increase in the proportion of wheat fields using economic threshold-based spray method would increase this value by 23% (£0.4 Million). 71% of the value would benefit wheat growers. A potential rise in insecticide costs due to resistance development would also enhance the value of natural pest control. These findings support growing efforts from policy-makers to promote this ecosystem service in agriculture.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:76197
Publisher:Elsevier

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