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How contradictory EU policies led to the development of a pest: the story of oilseed rape and the cabbage stem flea beetle

Ortega Ramos, P. A., Cook, S. M. and Mauchline, A. L. ORCID: (2022) How contradictory EU policies led to the development of a pest: the story of oilseed rape and the cabbage stem flea beetle. Global Change Biology: Bioenergy: Bioproducts for a Sustainable Bioeconomy, 14 (3). pp. 258-266. ISSN 1757-1707

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12922


Oilseed rape can be used to produce biodiesel which can substitute non-renewable fuels for transport. In the early 2000s, the EU introduced a series of policies and market-based incentives to encourage the production of biofuels in order to meet their obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This led to a large increase in the area of oilseed rape grown across Europe with a simultaneous rise in insect pests which were largely controlled by synthetic insecticides. However, the withdrawal of neonicotinoid seed treatments in 2013 and the development of insecticide resistance in key insect pests led to crop failures and significant yield losses. Integrated Pest Management approaches could have prevented this pest problem, however the lack of support and clear financial mechanisms for the enforcement of the 2009 Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive meant that the cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB; Psylliodes chrysocephala) has become a serious pest and the area of oilseed rape grown is now falling sharply leading to the need for imports. We suggest that it is imperative for Integrated Pest Management approaches to now become written into new EU and UK policies and to incentivise the development of tools required for implementation and use by farmers.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:102269


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