Sustainable Landscapes: Investigating the Landscape Scale Effects of Riparian Habitat on Natural Pest Control

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2007: $17,950.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: California
Graduate Student:

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: general tree fruits
  • Nuts: walnuts
  • Additional Plants: native plants


  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biological control
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal abstract:

    Riparian corridors and natural habitat patches within agricultural landscapes are one key ingredient for sustainable agricultural communities. Landscape diversity that includes riparian habitat can improve natural biological cycles, reduce runoff, improve water quality and increase recreational economic value of a landscape. However, very little is understood regarding the services or negative impact that agricultural production receives from natural areas, such as natural pest control or increased pest problems. Our research goal is to determine how distance to natural habitat and landscape diversity affects pest abundance and natural pest control within walnut farms in the Central Valley of California.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Our objectives are to answer the following questions concerning the interactions between riparian restoration areas and adjacent farmlands: 1) What are the quantities and distribution patterns of serious agricultural arthropod pests from natural areas into farmlands? 2) Does crop production benefit from elevated densities of pest enemies, including both insect and avian predators, that move from natural areas into nearby farmlands? If so, how far does this beneficial effect of natural habitat extend into farmlands? By collecting data on these specific objectives, we can determine the landscape level effects of riparian habitat and landscape diversity on pests and natural enemies and their dynamics.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.