• 1 Institute of Applied Ecology, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry, University, Fuzhou, Fujian 35002, China
  • 2 State Key Laboratory Breeding Base for Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control, Institute of Plant Protection and Microbiology, Zhejiang Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Hangzhou 310021, China
  • 3 Jinhua Plant Protection Station, Jinhua 321017, China
  • 4 Institute of Insect Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • 5 Crop and Environmental Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute, DAPO Box 7777, Metro Manila 1301, The Philippines
  • 6 Southern Regional Plant Protection Center, Long Dinh 860000, Vietnam
  • 7 Chainat Rice Research Center, Chainat 17000, Thailand
  • 8 Institute of Agricultural Science for Southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
  • 9 TienGiang University, Tien Giang 860000, Vietnam
  • 10 Rice Department, Bureau of Rice Research and Development, Bangkok 10220, Thailand
  • 11 Graham Centre, Charles Sturt University, Orange, New South Wales 2800, Australia
  • 12 Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, Christchurch 7642, New Zealand
Nat Plants, 2016 02 22;2:16014.
PMID: 27249349 DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2016.14


Global food security requires increased crop productivity to meet escalating demand(1-3). Current food production systems are heavily dependent on synthetic inputs that threaten the environment and human well-being(2,4,5). Biodiversity, for instance, is key to the provision of ecosystem services such as pest control(6,7), but is eroded in conventional agricultural systems. Yet the conservation and reinstatement of biodiversity is challenging(5,8,9), and it remains unclear whether the promotion of biodiversity can reduce reliance on inputs without penalizing yields on a regional scale. Here we present results from multi-site field studies replicated in Thailand, China and Vietnam over a period of four years, in which we grew nectar-producing plants around rice fields, and monitored levels of pest infestation, insecticide use and yields. Compiling the data from all sites, we report that this inexpensive intervention significantly reduced populations of two key pests, reduced insecticide applications by 70%, increased grain yields by 5% and delivered an economic advantage of 7.5%. Additional field studies showed that predators and parasitoids of the main rice pests, together with detritivores, were more abundant in the presence of nectar-producing plants. We conclude that a simple diversification approach, in this case the growth of nectar-producing plants, can contribute to the ecological intensification of agricultural systems.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.