Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)
College of Arts and Sciences
Thoughtful planning to enhance diversity in agricultural landscapes can present a multitude of ecological, cultural and economic benefits. Land managers have many options when considering which habitat modification techniques they can implement on their agri-environment schemes. This comparative analysis of 47 peer reviewed journal articles assesses which landscape enhancements are most effective in attracting beneficial insects, namely pollinators and natural enemies to pests. Through biological control, natural invertebrate predators inhibit vegetative pests that can be detrimental to croplands. The promotion of natural enemies can decrease the need for chemical use and maintenance on farms. Pollinators contribute tremendous benefits to crop yield and fruit set of crops, and can provide various other ecosystem services that promote overall environmental health. A comparison was conducted of 1) managing field margins 2) buffer strips 3) implementing diverse patchy landscapes and 4) native plantings. For each technique, studies are examined based on their efficacy of attracting and sustaining the health of predators and parasitoids of agricultural pests and both managed and native pollinators. Additionally, survey responses from Bee Friendly Farmers were collected to gain farmer perspectives on observed benefits and challenges when adopting such practices. Findings show that through a careful selection of native plants and a combination of landscape enhancements, pollinator and natural enemies ecosystem services can be increased. Lastly, recommendations are provided for land managers and policy makers to help facilitate implementation that result in the most benefits.
Rourke, Kelly, "ATTRACTING BENEFICIAL INSECTS TO YOUR FARM: A COMPARISON OF HABITAT MODIFICATION STRATEGIES" (2017). Master's Projects and Capstones. 551.