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Developing ecostacking techniques for pollen beetle management in oilseed rape
- Hokkanen, H. M. T., Menzler-Hokkanen, I.
- Arthropod-plant interactions 2018 v.12 no.6 pp. 767-777
- Brassica napus, Brassicogethes aeneus, European Union, biological control, crop management, ecosystem services, edge effects, environmental impact, ethics, habitats, landscapes, leadership, pest management, pests, plant protection, rapeseed, research policy, soil management, soil microorganisms, trap crops, vegetation, Europe
- In this review, we examine how the principles of ecostacking could be used to manage the pollen beetle Brassicogethes aeneus in oilseed crucifer crops. We further describe hindrances preventing progress of keeping the pest under full biological control across Europe, and for other similar pest management situations. Ecological processes at different levels need to be considered and understood. The beneficial functions, which the various ecosystem service providers offer, need to be combined and exploited in an additive or synergistic manner, i.e., “ecostacked.” Levels to consider include landscape and off-crop habitats (e.g., field margins) and their effects on pest management in the rapeseed crop; and possibilities to generate the key ecosystem services within the crop itself; for example, by vegetation management (e.g., undersowing, variety mixtures, companion and trap crops), soil management (biotic and abiotic; fostering and steering soil microbial communities to benefit biocontrol), and crop management, including crop protection treatments and their impacts on ecosystem service provision. All these processes affect the populations of the pollen beetle. Abundant information exists about most of the key processes important in this context. Utilizing this knowledge and stacking the various beneficial ecosystem service functions into a comprehensive management strategy for the pollen beetle, has not been attempted nor described. After illustrating the potential of ecostacking in solving crop protection problems, as it is apparent in the case of the pollen beetle, we analyze a situation where our approach was “lost in translation”. The European Union Horizon 2020 program chose to support our vision of ecostacking with a 10 million euro grant. Administrative decisions by the coordinating university (not to accept to host the grant), and subsequent failure of the European Commission and its Research Executive Agency to demonstrate leadership on issues of research policy, integrity, and ethics in the handling of the project, resulted in a shift of emphasis away from solutions based on integrative biocontrol.