(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2011) A study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has linked the growth of industrial farming systems to increased pest pressure and higher pesticide use, highlighting the importance of biodiversity in agriculture.
The researchers found that “landscape simplification” in the form of conversion of natural areas to intensive monocultural crop production results in increased pest populations through the removal of natural habitat for pest predators. This in turn leads to higher rates of pesticide application by farmers in response to the increased pest pressure.
As wild areas providing natural habitat to a range of wildlife and beneficial insects are destroyed and converted to conventional crop production, pest populations in the area will be robbed of their natural predators. This leads to pest population booms and to a corresponding increase in pesticides in an attempt to control them. Monocultural crop production –growing a single crop on hundreds and often thousands of acres– presents a uniquely perfect breeding ground for pests as it provides acres upon acres of food and habitat with no natural checks or barriers.
full article – http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/
related article – The Vermont Legislator can Help Save our Honeybee Population