Monoculture Promotes Insecticides

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The continued growth of cropland and loss of natural habitat like grasslands have increasingly simplified agricultural landscapes and this has led to crop pest abundance and increased insecticide use. While the relationship between monoculture, crop pest pressure, and insecticide use has been suggested before, it has not been well supported by empirical evidence. Now a study documents a link between monoculture and increased insecticide use. The researchers carried out the study in the Midwest region of the United States. They found that monoculture was associated with annual insecticide application to an additional 5,400 square miles in the Midwest—an area the size of Connecticut. They warn that this increased use of insecticides will affect perennial grasslands that are a good source of bioenergy. PNAS,


Down To Earth, August 2011