Mechanisms governing natural pest control in mixed fruit-tree-vegetable plots

Mixed fruit-tree-vegetable plots are diversified, agroforestery plot associating fruit trees and vegetables. In this type of cropping systems, the whole available 3D space is used to produce food based on vegetables at the ground level and on fruits at several heights.

Mixed fruit-tree-vegetable plots are thus a possible response to the limited available space for agricultural areas.

Moreover, conservation biological control, i.e. control of pests by their naturally occurring predators, is frequently increased in diversified plots although results seem to be context-dependent.

The objective of this PhD thesis is to understand the mechanisms governing conservation biological control of vegetable pests in mixed fruit-tree-vegetable plots. As mixed fruit-tree-vegetable plots are diverse and their structure can be complex, we chose to base our study on the comparison of these mechanisms in experimental plots.

Picture of the exclusion cage experiment in mixed cabbage-apple-tree plots from Camille Imbert's PhD Thesis, in Avignon, South-East France.