ESA Annual Meetings Online Program

Pests, potatoes, and paramos: community-based monitoring of the Guatamalan moth (Tecia solanivora) and the Andean potato weevil (Premnotrypes vorax) in the high plateaus of Venezuela

Tuesday, November 15, 2011: 4:06 PM
Room A19, First Floor (Reno-Sparks Convention Center)
Carlo R. Moreno , Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Stephen R. Gliessman , Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
The proliferation in production of imported, rapid-growth potato varieties throughout the Venezuelan Andes over the past two decades is considered a major factor in the radiation of the exotic pest species Tecia solanivora. In addition, the expansion of intensive potato production into protected national parklands has created concern over the conservation of endemic paramo species and recent outbreaks of a secondary potato pest Premnotrypes vorax.We seek to evaluate the influence of two semi-traditional farming practices in the regulation of T. solanivora and P. vorax: the cultivation of the native potato Solanum andigenum v. Negra Arbolona and the use of 5-15 year fallow rotation cycles. We hypothesize that both practices reduce potato pest populations because 1) native potato varieties are less preferred relative to imported ones by both T. solanivora and P. vorax as observed by local farmers and 2) long fallow rotation cycles create mosaics of paramo vegetation in different stages of succession that simultaneously reduces resource concentration and creates refuges for natural enemies. We conducted a participatory monitoring project in two communities in the Venezuelan Andes in 2011 in order to test associations between semi-traditional farming practices, plant and arthropod natural enemy diversity, and abundance of T. solanivora and P. vorax. The results of this monitoring project represent a first step in the development of a community-based pest management plan that incorporates sustainable practices and local traditional knowledge systems such as long fallow rotation and native seed production.