Plant diversification promotes biocontrol services in peach orchards by shaping the ecological niches of insect herbivores and their natural enemies

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Nian Feng Wan, Xiang Yun Ji, Jian Yu Deng, Lars Pødenphant Kiær, You Ming Cai, Jie Xian Jiang

Ecological niche indicators have been scarcely adopted to assess the biological control of insect herbivores by their natural enemies. We hypothesize that plant diversification promotes the biocontrol services by narrowing the niches of herbivores and broadening the niches of natural enemies. In a large-scale experiment, we found that the abundance of natural enemies was increased by 38.1%, and the abundance of insect herbivores was decreased by 16.9% in peach orchards with plant diversification (treatment) compared to ones with monoculture (control). Stratified sampling indicated that the horizontal, vertical, temporal and three-dimensional niches of natural enemies were generally broader while these niches of herbivores were narrower. Additionally, diverse plants give rise to an increase in the temporal synchrony and spatial similarity of the herbivores and natural enemies in peach orchards. Our study reveals that plant diversification promotes the biocontrol services by shaping the niche of herbivores and natural enemies, and provides a new assessment method to understand the biodiversity-niche-ecosystem management interactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Indicators
Pages (from-to)387-392
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

    Research areas

  • Ecological indicator, Ecological niche, Insect herbivore, Natural enemy, Orthogonal partial least squares-discriminant analysis, Peach orchards, Pest management

ID: 193401220