NRM: Focus on NRM research: Keeping insect pests lower for longer

There are a range of ecosystem service benefits that flow from maintaining on-farm natural assets. Previous research has focused on the relationship of semi-natural vegetation providing individual ecosystem services, for example, biological control or pollination. However, there is little evidence to show the measurable effects of native vegetation on insect pest suppression in cotton production at a landscape scale or the mechanisms underpinning any effect.

By comparing insect pest suppression in relation to the crop and the proportion of native vegetation at larger scales, Dr Vesna Gagic and her team at CSIRO researched how native vegetation links to on-farm insect pest management. For example, they asked: could native vegetation help to increase biological control and keep insect pests in cotton ‘lower for longer’?