Best organic farming expansion scenarios for pest control: a modeling approach

10.24072/pcjournal.251 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 3 (2023), article no. e26.

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Organic Farming (OF) has been expanding recently in response to growing consumer demand and as a response to environmental concerns. The area under OF is expected to further increase in the future. The effect of OF expansion on pest densities in organic and conventional crops remains difficult to predict because OF expansion impacts Conservation Biological Control (CBC), which depends on the surrounding landscape (i.e. both the crop mosaic and semi-natural habitats). In order to understand and forecast how pests and their biological control may vary during OF expansion, we modeled the effect of spatial changes in farming practices on population dynamics of a pest and its natural enemy. We investigated the impact on pest density and on predator to pest ratio of three contrasted scenarios aiming at 50% organic fields through the progressive conversion of conventional fields. Scenarios were 1) conversion of Isolated conventional fields first (IP), 2) conversion of conventional fields within Groups of conventional fields first (GP), and 3) Random conversion of conventional field (RD). We coupled a neutral spatially explicit landscape model to a predator-prey model to simulate pest dynamics in interaction with natural enemy predators. The three OF expansion scenarios were applied to nine landscape contexts differing in their proportion and fragmentation of semi-natural habitat. We further investigated if the ranking of scenarios was robust to pest control methods in OF fields and pest and predator dispersal abilities. We found that organic farming expansion affected more predator densities than pest densities for most combinations of landscape contexts and OF expansion scenarios. The impact of OF expansion on final pest and predator densities was also stronger in organic than conventional fields and in landscapes with large proportions of highly fragmented semi-natural habitats. Based on pest densities and the predator to pest ratio, our results suggest that a progressive organic conversion with a focus on isolated conventional fields (scenario IP) could help promote CBC. Careful landscape planning of OF expansion appeared most necessary when pest management was substantially less efficient in organic than in conventional crops, and in landscapes with low proportion of semi-natural habitats.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.251
Keywords: agricultural landscape, conservation biological control, pest-predator, spatial model
Delattre, Thomas 1; Memah, Mohamed-Mahmoud 1; Franck, Pierre 1; Valsesia, Pierre 1; Lavigne, Claire 1

1 INRAE, Plantes et Systèmes de culture Horticoles, Avignon, France
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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%A Valsesia, Pierre
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%T Best organic farming expansion scenarios for pest control: a modeling approach

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Delattre, Thomas; Memah, Mohamed-Mahmoud; Franck, Pierre; Valsesia, Pierre; Lavigne, Claire. Best organic farming expansion scenarios for pest control: a modeling approach
. Peer Community Journal, Volume 3 (2023), article  no. e26. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.251.

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.ecology.100425

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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