Conservation biological control in an agricultural landscape is a cultural practice of increasing selected vegetative diversity to support natural enemies of pests (predators and parasitoids) by providing shelter, nectar, alternative prey and pollen (SNAP).
Conservation biological control is sometimes called ‘ecological engineering for pest management’ and aims to keep beneficial arthropods in the crop environment for the reduction of arthropod pests.
The BioResEd team works with Australian farmers who manage their land for biodiversity.
We aim to help farmers achieve two inter-related goals:
- Improve soil health for profitability, productivity and sustainability during good seasons and difficult ones
- Increase the presence of beneficial invertebrates on-farm, for pollinators, natural enemies of pests and soil beneficial invertebrates
We provide opportunities for farmers to monitor and review their progress as they roll-out strategies for biodiversity ranging from cover crops and native vegetation areas to orchard design and orchard row removal. We support farmers as they make decisions on seed mixes, re-vegetation, Integrated Pest Management, conservation biological control and soil restoration and conservation.
Farming for biodiversity can result in:
- Reduction in the use and costs of farm inputs such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilisers and mulches.
- Improved nutrient and water cycles, increased Soil Organic Matter, better soil moisture and soil temperature regulation, diverse and abundant soil microbiology, better stabilisation of soil aggregates, and more.
- Resilience for weather extremes, including drought, heat waves, severe storms and heavy rains.
- Year-round populations of natural enemies of insect pests and diverse and secure populations of crop pollinators, thereby increasing crop pollination and decreasing pest pressure
Much of our work is funded by government and grower levies and we can provide services and support free of cost to many farmers in Queensland and northern New South Wales. We work alongside farmers in the macadamia, avocado, lychee, and custard apple industries and we also collaborate with universities, industry groups, natural resource management groups and suppliers and manufacturers. We are also available for consulting services.
Past and present project partners of BioResEd include Hort Innovation, Landcare Australia and Southern Cross University.