Insect Herbivores of Rice: Their Natural Regulation and Ecologically Based Management

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Rice Production Worldwide, 2017, pp. 279 - 302 (23)
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The management of insect herbivores in rice ecosystems has been strongly influenced by three poorly informed beliefs. These are (1) that insects have generally negative effects on crop health, (2) that herbivore damage translates directly to yield loss, and (3) that insecticides increase rice yields. In the face of global changes, particularly increases in the production and marketing of agrochemicals, these beliefs will lead to unsustainable rice production systems and poor environmental health. This chapter assesses these beliefs, challenges their validity, and (by analyzing the dynamics of herbivore populations and their interspecific interactions in the rice ecosystem) presents a holistic alternative for understanding herbivore impacts on rice production systems. The chapter proposes a focus on “rice ecosystem health” with herbivore management based on ecological principals and incorporating such novel approaches as “ecological engineering” for ecosystem stability and system resilience.
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