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21-02-2023

Modelling network effects of biological control: the case of the Philippine coconut scale insect outbreak

Authors: Billy Joel M. Almarinez, Divina M. Amalin, Kathleen B. Aviso, Heriberto Cabezas, Angelyn R. Lao, Raymond R. Tan

Published in: BioControl | Issue 2/2023

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Abstract

Biological control provides a sustainable alternative to chemical pesticides for controlling pests in agriculture. Chemical pesticides may lack the specificity to limit their adverse effects just on target species. However, the use of a biological control agent may cause ripple effects on ecological communities that exist within a farm or plantation. Ecological network analysis models can be used to anticipate such indirect impacts. In this work, we develop a graph theoretic model to gauge the effects of using a biological control agent to suppress the infestation of coconut plantations by scale insects. The model is based on the process graph technique described in our previous work. We retrospectively analyze the case of massive scale insect infestation of coconut plantations that occurred in the Philippines in the previous decade. Simulations with the model indicate the efficacy of biological control to suppress the infestation, particularly for serious outbreaks. On the other hand, use of a neonicotinoid poses undue collateral risks to the system because of its lethal effect on pollinators and on the biological control agents. Both of these results are corroborated by the actual field experience.

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Appendix
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Metadata
Title
Modelling network effects of biological control: the case of the Philippine coconut scale insect outbreak
Authors
Billy Joel M. Almarinez
Divina M. Amalin
Kathleen B. Aviso
Heriberto Cabezas
Angelyn R. Lao
Raymond R. Tan
Publication date
21-02-2023
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
BioControl / Issue 2/2023
Print ISSN: 1386-6141
Electronic ISSN: 1573-8248
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-023-10188-4

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