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Agroforestry management affects coffee pests contingent on season and developmental stage

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1 Management of vegetational diversity in agroecosystems is a potentially regulating factor of pest population dynamics and may affect developmental stages in different ways.

2 We investigated the population dynamics of red spider mites, coffee leaf miners, and coffee berry borers in three management types of coffee agroforests: increasing plant diversity from a few shade tree species (simple-shade agroforests), intermediate-shade tree species (complex-shade agroforests) to high-shade tree species (abandoned coffee agroforests) in Ecuador. Furthermore, we studied how changes in agroforestry management affect population stage structure of each coffee pest.

3 Our results show that agroforestry management affected seasonal patterns of coffee pests in that higher densities of red spider mites were observed from August to December, coffee leaf miners from December to February, and coffee berry borers from May to July. Moreover, specific developmental stages of red spider mites, coffee leaf miners, and coffee berry borers differed in their responses to agroforestry management. During all stages, red spider mite reached higher densities in simple-shade agroforests compared with complex-shade and abandoned agroforests. Meanwhile, coffee leaf miner densities decreased from simple-shade to complex-shade and abandoned agroforests, but only for larvae, not pupae. Similarly, only coffee berry borer adults (but not eggs, larvae and pupae) demonstrated a response to agroforestry management. Environmental variables characterizing each agroforestry type proved to be important drivers of pest population densities in the field.

4 We emphasize the importance of considering seasonal differences and population structure while investigating arthropod responses to different habitat types because responses change with time and developmental stages.
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Keywords: Coffee berry borers; coffee leaf miners; developmental stages; red spider mites

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management, 137 Mulford Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114, U.S.A. 2: EPAMIG-CTSM/EcoCentro, PO Box 176, 37200-000, Lavras, MG, Brazil

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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