Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:17 AM

Mite species diversity as a functional ecology measure of sustainability in tree fruit

Daniel R. Nortman, and Mark E. Whalon, Michigan State University, Department of Entomology, B-11 Center for Integrated Plant Systems, East Lansing, MI

In the early 1980s research was conducted to determine the effect of a range of orchard management strategies on mite species composition. The data exhibited trends in the relationship between mite species presence and pest management practices. We have developed a mite indexing system based on this research that reflects the sustainability of various management strategies in apples, cherries and peaches. The data we collected over a period of three years indicates that our indexing system predicts apple and cherry management very well, whereas peaches are less predictive. Future research will work towards developing a more reliable model for peaches.