Methodological approach to spatial analysis of agricultural pest dispersal in olive landscapes

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The effectiveness of a Geographical Information Systems cost-distance tool for detecting landscape permeability in relation to the movement of pests in olive landscapes was established. The simplification of agricultural systems is linked to an increased incidence of pests on crops. Therefore, it is important to understand the impact of different land uses surrounding olive groves on pests. In this work, we analysed the effect of the structure of the olive landscape on the movement of two main olive pests—the olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Rossi) (Diptera: Tephritidae) and the olive moth, Prays oleae (Bernard) (Lepidopetera: Praydidae). We applied linear mixed effects models to analyse the relationship between pest abundance and cost-distance, using different hypotheses to evaluate those land uses that are favourable or unfavourable for the movement of these pests. The results show that this methodology is effective in detecting possible unfavourable land uses with a barrier effect, such as woodland and artificial land uses, and favourable land uses with a corridor effect such as olive groves. Whether other land uses, such as scrubland or riverbanks, act as a barrier or corridor depends on the pest and its life cycle stage. The effect that different land uses have in maintaining low levels of pest populations and ensuring the long-term sustainability of these agricultural systems are discussed. The implications of landscape permeability for the physical structure of the landscape and the dispersal of organisms, and the potential of that landscape to impact the continuous flow of natural processes are also addressed.
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