Conservation Biocontrol (JMF096)

Eliminate Pesticides, Provide Habitats, Restore Biodiversity

Instructor information

Jarrod Fowler, M.Sc.
Office Hours: Wednesdays
Agricultural Learning Center
911 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA
Phone: (508) 274-1094
Email: j@jarrodfowler.com

Information

Time and location

Summer 2015, 6-July to 14-Aug
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00AM to 12:00PM
Agricultural Learning Center
Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
911 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002

Required readings

Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, The (2014). Farming with native beneficial insects: Ecological pest control solutions. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub.

Supplementary readings

Students are encouraged to share relevant readings.

Recommended materials

Aerial insect net, binoculars, boots or closed-toe shoes, field guides, gloves, hat, pants, pen/pencil and pad, raincoat, snack, sunscreen, water, ...

Description

Native beneficial insects are natural enemies that improve crop yield by decreasing pest damage and reducing need for pesticides. Natural enemy populations can be promoted through providing habitats with abundant and diverse resources, such as nectar, pollen, and refuge. Such conservation practices identically support pollinators, provide wildlife habitat, reduce weeds and erosion, and improve aesthetics and water quality, while meeting USDA organic certification biodiversity conservation requirements. Thus, conservation biological control (biocontrol) mutually aids environments, societies, and industries.

JMF096 will provide students with knowledge and skills pertaining to conservation biocontrol, encourage interest and application of native beneficial insect management, and support creative development and use of acquired knowledge and skills for sustainable agriculture. Topics include assessment, design, installation, and maintenance of native beneficial insect habitat and identification and monitoring of natural enemies. Students will collaboratively develop applied projects and gain practical knowledge through a hybrid fieldtrip, lecture, and workshop classroom setting.

Goals

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:
  1. Comprehend beneficial insect biology and ecology
  2. Monitor and identify natural enemy populations
  3. Use conservation practices to design, install, and maintain habitats

Requirements

  1. Attending classes
  2. Reading all assigned materials and participating in discussions
  3. Completing quizzes and collaborative class projects

Grades

Performance will be assessed relative to class projects, quizzes, and attendance.

Assessment and evaluation

  1. Projects: 60%
  2. Quizzes: 20%
  3. Attendance: 20%

Late submissions

Late projects and quizzes will not be accepted unless special arrangements are made in advance.

Course calendar

Classes 01-12. Date: Topic; Readings; Projects
  1. 7-July: Pest control with beneficial insects; Preface, Chapter 1, 184-190
  2. 9-July: Benefits of farming with native beneficial insects; Chapter 2, 181-198
  3. 14-July: Evaluating native beneficial insect habitat; Chapter 3, 199-207
  4. 16-July: Designing beneficial insect habitat; Chapter 4, 209-233; Project 1
  5. 21-July: Native plant field borders; Chapter 5
  6. 23-July: Insectary strips; Chapter 6
  7. 28-July: Hedgerows; Chapter 7
  8. 30-July: Cover crops; Chapter 8; Project 2
  9. 4-Aug: Conservation buffers; Chapter 9
  10. 6-Aug: Beetle-banks and other shelters; Chapter 10
  11. 11-Aug: Reducing pesticide impacts; Chapter 11
  12. 13-Aug: Long-term habitat management; Chapter 12; Project 3

References

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  • Barbosa, P. (1998). Conservation biological control. San Diego: Academic Press.
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  • Blaauw, B. R., & Isaacs, R. (2012). Larger wildflower plantings increase natural enemy density, diversity, and biological control of sentinel prey, without increasing herbivore density. Ecological Entomology, 37, 5, 386-394.
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