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TESS Seminar- It’s always the last place you look: Is the key to feeding the world in biodiversity conservation?

When Apr 26, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where D3.054 Cairns, 145.030 Townsville
Contact Name
Contact Phone 07 4232 1427
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Dr Tobin Northfield
James Cook University

AbstractTobin Northfield

Over the last century researchers have made vast improvements in agricultural yields through technological advancements in management tools such as fertilizers and pesticides. However, more recent research suggests that some of these advancements may inhibit biodiversity conservation. Furthermore, in many cases increases in biodiversity can lead to improvements in the provision of such services as pollination and natural pest control, leading to a new approach to maximize the benefits from naturally occurring species, called ecological intensification. I will discuss some of the advantages of conserving a diverse group of beneficial organisms for agricultural yields, with special reference to improved natural pest control. Finally, I will discuss how it may be possible to simultaneously improve natural pollination and pest control through simple habitat modification within farms. These techniques may be paired with low-impact conventional methods to improve food production and improve farmer incomes.

Biography

Tobin is an ecologist broadly focused on species interactions within ecological communities. He uses a combination of experiments and theoretical models to identify methods to improve natural pest control and pollination in agriculture. His work has focused on a variety of cropping systems, including brassicas, cacao, cotton, peas, peppers, and potatoes.

Centre for Tropical Environmental & Sustainability Sciences

Twitter (@TESSJCU)