First use of participatory Bayesian modeling to study habitat management at multiple scales for biological pest control
Habitat management is increasingly considered as a promising approach to favor the ecosystem service of biological control by enhancing natural enemies. However, habitat management, whether at local or landscape scale, remains very uncertain for farmers. Interactions between ecological processes and agricultural practices are indeed uncertain and site-specific, which makes implementation difficult. Thus, prospecting innovations based on habitat management may benefit from integrating local stakeholders and their knowledge. Our objective is to explore with both local and scientific stakeholders how they perceive agricultural practices, ecological processes, and services related to biological pest control and habitat management. We conducted a participatory Bayesian Network modeling approach with five stakeholders in Southwest France around apple orchard cultivation. We co-constructed such Bayesian Networks based on participants’ knowledge. We explored scenarios favoring natural enemies and habitat manipulation with each participant’s Bayesian Network. We compared how different stakeholders perceive the impact of each scenario on the biological control ecosystem service. Our results indicate that a landscape with a high proportion of semi-natural habitats does not translate into significant biological control for most participants even though some stakeholders perceive a significant impact on generalist predators’ activity within orchards. For these local stakeholders, habitat management at the orchard level such as inter-row vegetation seems currently more promising than at the landscape scale. Here, we show for the first time that the use of Bayesian modeling in a participatory manner can give precious insights into the most promising perspectives on habitat management at different scales. These different local perspectives suggest in particular that further dialogue between ecologists and local stakeholders should be sought about inter-row habitat management as the most promising practice to foster biological pest control and other ecosystem services.