The ecology and management of insect pests in traditional agroecosystems

TitleThe ecology and management of insect pests in traditional agroecosystems
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsAltieri, MA
EditorOveral, WL, Posey, DAddison
Book TitleEthnobiology : implications and applications : proceedings of the First International Congress of Ethnobiology, Belém, 1988
ChapterPart B; Chapter 1
Number of Volumes2
Date Published1990
PublisherMuseu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
CityBelém, Brazil
Call NumberGN476.7.I25 1988
Keywordsagroecology; ethnoentomology; indigenous pest control

An analysis of the scattered research conducted on indigenous knowledge about pest ecology and methods of pest control used in traditional agriculture suggested the following facts:

  • Traditional farmers are able to identify the main pest species affecting their crops and have local names for most of them
  • In traditional agriculture the concept "pest" is relative, since many organisms considered pests may also be important resources for food, medicines, rituals, etc.
  • Most farmers have some level of knowledge about the biology, life cycles, and food preferences of most pest species.
  • Most farmers are aware of the conditions that favor and/or discourage pest incidence.
  • Most farmers accept a level of presence of pests and therefore adjust to a certain degree of crop loss.
  • Traditional farmers utilize a variety of cultural, physical/mechanical and biological methods to directly control pests, or indirectly rely on the built-in pest control mechanisms inherent to their complex cropping systems.

The ensemble of traditional crop protection practices used by indigenous farmers throughout the developing world represents a rich resource for modern workers seeking to create pest management systems that are well adapted to the agroecological, cultural and socioeconomic circumstances facing peasants.


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