Ratto, F, Bruce, TJA, Chipabika, G, Mwamakamba, S, Mkandawire, R, Khan, Z, Mkindi, A, Pittchar, J, Sallu, SM, Whitfield, S, Wilson, K and Sait, SM (2022) Biological control interventions reduce pest abundance and crop damage while maintaining natural enemies in sub-Saharan Africa: a meta-analysis. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 289 (1988). ISSN 0962-8452

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Insect pests are a major challenge to smallholder crop production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where access to synthetic pesticides, which are linked to environmental and health risks, is often limited. Biological control interventions could offer a sustainable solution, yet an understanding of their effectiveness is lacking. We used a meta-analysis approach to investigate the effectiveness of commonly used biocontrol interventions and botanical pesticides on pest abundance (PA), crop damage (CD), crop yield (Y) and natural enemy abundance (NEA) when compared with controls with no biocontrol and with synthetic pesticides. We also evaluated whether the magnitude of biocontrol effectiveness was affected by type of biocontrol intervention, crop type, pest taxon, farm type and landscape configuration. Overall, from 99 studies on 31 crops, we found that compared to no biocontrol, biocontrol interventions reduced PA by 63%, CD by over 50% and increased Y by over 60%. Compared to synthetic pesticides, biocontrol resulted in comparable PA and Y, while NEA was 43% greater. Our results also highlighted that the potential for biocontrol to be modulated by landscape configuration is a critical knowledge gap in SSA. We show that biocontrol represents an effective tool for smallholder farmers, which can maintain yields without associated negative pesticide effects. Furthermore, the evidence presented here advocates strongly for including biocontrol practices in national and regional agricultural policies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: conservation agriculture; predators; parasitoids; synthetic pesticides; botanical pesticides; insect pests
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2023 13:42
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2023 10:17
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/11976

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