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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 27, Issue 4 — July 2001

Plant Species Diversity and Abundance Affects the Number of Arthropod Pests in Residential Landscapes    (View PDF)

Michael J. Raupp, Paula M. Shrewsbury, John J. Holmes, and John A. Davidson

Abstract: An analysis of data collected from 212 residential landscapes in suburban Maryland, U.S., revealed significant positive relationships between the number of insect and mite pests in the landscape and the total number of plants and plant species at the site. The number of pests in a landscape increased very little in relation to the number of plants found in the landscape. However, the number of arthropod pests increased at a much greater rate as more species of plants were added. Two explanations for these results are likely. Relatively few plants harbored arthropod pests throughout the course of the season. Adding more plants of the same species had little effect on altering the number of pest species in a landscape. Arthropod pests tend to be relatively specialized in their host range. When different species of plants are added to a landscape, more opportunities are created for specialized insects and mites to colonize the site and increase the richness of the arthropod fauna. When used in conjunction with previous investigations involving monitoring approaches, these results help IPM and PHC monitors plan and conduct site inspections more efficiently and effectively.

Keywords: Landscape diversity; pest diversity; Integrated Pest Management; Plant Health Care.

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