Costa Rica

Tree spacing impacts the individual incidence of Moniliophthora roreri disease in cacao agroforests Pest management science

Ngo Bieng, M; Alem, L; Curtet, C; Tixier, P

Accepted article published: 5 June 2017 Published online in Wiley Online Library


"BACKGROUND: Using conventional pesticides in crop protection has raised serious environmental concerns and there is therefore a need for integrated pest management (IPM) methods. In this paper, we found that the spacing of trees can impact disease, which could result in a reduction in pesticide applications and may act as a potential IPM method. We studied Frosty Pod Rot (FPR) in 20 cacao agroforests in Costa Rica (Upala region).
RESULTS: Using a generalized linear mixed model, we analyzed the impact of the neighborhood composition and distance from a studied cacao individual on its individual FPR incidence. We found that the number of cacao tree neighbors in a radius of 3.7 m and the number of fruit trees in a radius of 4.3 m had a significant negative influence on the incidence of FPR on individual cacao trees. Moreover, cacao tree neighbors had the most significant local influence compared to the neighborhood of other taller categories such as fruit or forest trees.
CONCLUSION: The mechanisms involved are related to the barrier effect, due to the effectiveness of the cacao tree’s architecture as an efficient barrier against FPR spore dispersal. This paper provides new insights into optimization of the spatial environment around each host as an original IPM method."

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