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: No walk in the park for S. Africa's embattled game rangers

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

Invasive lionfish likely safe to eat after all

1 hour ago

Scientists have learned that recent fears of invasive lionfish causing fish poisoning may be unfounded. If so, current efforts to control lionfish by fishing derbies and targeted fisheries may remain the ...

Brother of Hibiscus is found alive and well on Maui

17 hours ago

Most people are familiar with Hibiscus flowers- they are an iconic symbol of tropical resorts worldwide where they are commonly planted in the landscape. Some, like Hawaii's State Flower- Hibiscus brackenridgei- are en ...

Boat noise impacts development and survival of sea hares

19 hours ago

While previous studies have shown that marine noise can affect animal movement and communication, with unknown ecological consequences, scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes ...

User comments : 0