The use of cavity-nesting wild birds as agents of biological control in vineyards of Central Chile

Natalia Olmos-Moya, Pablo Díaz-Siefer, Rocío A. Pozo, Francisco E. Fontúrbel, Blas Lavandero, Sebastián Abades, Juan L. Celis-Diez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Insectivorous birds provide key ecosystem services for agricultural production, such as biological pest control. However, habitat loss and degradation by agriculture are among the main causes of biodiversity loss globally, including the recent decline in bird populations. Habitat loss has particularly affected insectivorous birds due to the associated decrease in the availability of suitable nesting sites. Our study assessed a tool of ecological intensification to increase insectivorous bird abundance and biological control in vineyards. We evaluated the effects of nest boxes on prey removal by insectivorous birds in five vineyards in central Chile, using a two-year sentinel prey experimental trial. Our results showed significantly more sentinel larvae removal by birds in plots with nest boxes than control plots. Deploying the nest boxes resulted in a 43% higher consumption of sentinel prey. Therefore, we recommend using nest boxes as an environmentally-friendly method to increase native predators and enhance biological control in agricultural fields. This would have the potential to improve biodiversity conservation and maximize crop yields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107975
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Volume334
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ecological intensification
  • Ecosystem services
  • Insectivorous birds
  • Integrated pest management
  • Sentinel experiment

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