Agricultural pest management program efficiency challenged by information diffusion barriers among farmers

Oct 13, 2011

While international pest management programs have long relied on farmer cooperation to spread pest control information at larger scales, a study by French researchers published in the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology on Thursday 13th October 2011 reveals that slow information diffusion within farmer communities gives rise to significant lags in implementation of pest management procedures.

Food security of millions of people in the developing world has faced a growing number of challenges in recent years, including risks associated with emergent . While pest management programs have a larger place than ever on the international policy agenda, the debate concerning their efficiency at large scales has remained unresolved. Pest management practices that rely on farmer cooperation to share pest control information have been favoured, but the efficiency of such methodologies has been questioned due to incomplete knowledge of variation in farmers' practices, and their complex interactions with pest dynamics. A modeling framework, integrating both social and ecological perspectives, was therefore needed to better predict the efficiency of pest management programs.

The modeling framework developed by the authors was comprised of an agent-based model combining social (information diffusion theory) and biological ( dynamics) models to study the roles played by cooperation and sharing of pest management information among small-scale farmers in controlling an invasive pest. The model was implemented with field data from large-scale surveys of approximately 300 farmer households in the Ecuadorian Andes, and was undertaken within a regional pest management program funded by the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD) and the McKnight Foundation.

Though the slow learning process places restrictions on the knowledge that can be generated using cooperative practices, the authors conclude that if individuals learn from others about the benefits of early prevention of pests, then a temporary educational effort may have a sustainable long-run impact on pest control.

Explore further: Next-door leopards: First GPS-collar study reveals how leopards live with people

More information: Rebaudo F, Dangles O (2011) Coupled Information Diffusion–Pest Dynamics Models Predict Delayed Benefits of Farmer Cooperation in Pest Management Programs. PLoS Comput Biol 7(10): e1002222. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002222

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research required urgently to control planthopper pests

Jun 23, 2008

[B]June 23-25 conference to address major threat to Asian rice production[/B] A small insect that has devastated millions of hectares of rice in southern China and Vietnam over the past few years—causing the loss of tho ...

Tiny pest-eating insect fights fruit flies

Dec 06, 2007

Farmers and vineyard owners have a new weapon in their pest management arsenal. A commonly used parasitoid, or parasitic insect that kills its host, has proven to be quite effective in the control of fruit ...

Recommended for you

Seychelles poachers go nutty for erotic shaped seed

14 hours ago

Under cover of darkness in the steamy jungles of the Seychelles thieves creep out to harvest the sizeable and valuable nuts of the famous coco de mer palm, and their activities are threatening its long-term ...

Laser scanning accurately 'weighs' trees

Nov 21, 2014

A terrestrial laser scanning technique that allows the structure of vegetation to be 3D-mapped to the millimetre is more accurate in determining the biomass of trees and carbon stocks in forests than current ...

Cameras detect 'extinct' wallabies near Broome

Nov 21, 2014

Yawuru Country Managers have found a spectacled hare wallaby (Lagorchestes conspicillatus) population, a species which for the last decade was feared to be locally extinct at Roebuck Plains, adjacent to Broome.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.