Biological Control in Urban Forests

Mike Raupp will provide evidence that several factors, either individually or in concert, act to uncouple ecological relationships in managed landscape systems, thereby so called natural interactions between plants, pests, and natural enemies. These factors include a critical lack of plant diversity and complexity in our cities and residential landscapes, failure to consider evolutionary relationships between plants and their pests in the selection of plant material, management practices such as elevated levels of fertilization that predispose plants to increased frequency and intensity of attack by pests, application of pesticides that uncouple natural enemies from their prey and hosts, thereby enabling pest outbreaks. In some cases the solutions to these problems will be very expensive and require paradigm shifts in the way urban forests are designed and planted. Other problems can be resolved through reductions in chemical inputs including fertilizers and insecticides.

It is our hope that this synthesis will act as a catalyst for arborists to work with urban planners, landscape managers, and the general public to create more sustainable landscapes. Our goal is to reduce dependence on inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides while providing enhanced levels of services including beauty, recreation, biodiversity, biological remediation, and ecosystem function in urban settings.

Mike RauppMike Raupp is a professor at the University of Maryland. His programs focus on invasive species, urbanization, and climate change and his outreach provides training on IPM to arborists, master gardeners, and the general public. He has received a dozen regional and national awards including the Secretary of Agriculture’s Award for Environmental Protection, the Entomological Society’s Achievement Award in Extension, and the Richard Harris Authors Citation from the International Society of Arboriculture.

 

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