Natural pest control is an alternative to pesticide use in agriculture, and may help to curb insect declines and promote crop production. Nonconsumptive interactions in natural pest control that historically have received far less attention than consumptive interactions, may have distinct impacts on pest damage suppression and may also mediate positive multipredator interactions. Additionally, when nonconsumptive effects are driven by natural enemy aggression, variation in alternative resources for enemies may impact the strength of pest control. Here we study control of the coffee berry borer (CBB),
- Award ID(s):
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- Publisher / Repository:
- Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
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- Ecological Applications
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Here we explore three reasons why conserving, restoring or augmenting specific natural enemies in the environment could offer a promising complement to conventional clinical strategies to fight environmentally mediated pathogens and parasites. (a) Natural enemies of human infections abound in nature, largely understudied and undiscovered; (b) natural enemy solutions could provide ecological options for infectious disease control where conventional interventions are lacking; and, (c) many natural enemy solutions could provide important co‐benefits for conservation and human well‐being.
We illustrate these three arguments with a broad set of examples whereby natural enemies of human infections have been used or proposed to curb human disease burden, with some clear successes. However, the evidence base for most proposed solutions is sparse, and many opportunities likely remain undiscovered, highlighting opportunities for future research.
Plain Language Summarycan be found within the Supporting Information of this article.