Friday, 30 October 2015

Of pests and people: Designing pest-resilient rice ecosystem

An IRRI Seminar

By Buyung Hadi
Crop and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD)

​​​5 November 2015
1:15-2:15 p.m.
Havener Auditorium


For farmers, insect pest incidence and outbreaks are often characterized by uncertainty and surprise. Because of this, many farmers choose the prophylactic application of insecticides as a way to prevent potential loss. The cheap price of insecticides encourages this behavior even more. However, the risks to humans and the environment due to insecticide misuse are not fully taken into consideration in this practice. An alternative framework for rice insect pest management is needed.

Using IPM principles as the starting point, we propose pest-resilient rice ecosystem as an alternative framework. A pest-resilient rice ecosystem is characterized by the system’s capacity to absorb disturbances (e.g., insect pest populations) without compromising its processes and functions (e.g., producing yield). In this framework, priority is given to tactics that prevent the development of economically damaging levels of insect pest populations. Some examples are the deployment of resistant varieties, conservation of natural enemies, and the introduction of cultural practices that increase pest exposure toward natural enemies. In-depth investigation into insect ecology and behavior can yield insights to designing these tactics.

Curative tactics should be selected and designed to minimize their potential of further upsetting the system’s pest resilience, with human and environmental safety in mind. Finally, farmers’ involvement in the whole design process is an imperative. In this seminar, Buyung will describe the Pest Ecology Group’s continuous attempt to identify and refine preventive and curative methods as building blocks of insect pest-resilient rice ecosystem.

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