Agronomy Research Expertise in Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon (South of France)

Agronomy : crops and cropping systems

UPR B-AMR Pests and Diseases: Risk Analysis and Control

Member institutes and partners  : Cirad

Research conducted by the internal research unit (UPR) Controlling Pests and Diseases in Tree Crops (CIRAD) is focused on the epidemiology and dynamics of pest and disease populations. Plant-pathogen models are thus developed for the main organisms that have a negative impact on important tropical tree crops. Research on the epidemiology and dynamics of pathogen populations, on sustainable resistance and on alternatives to chemical control, are the main activities of the unit.

The UPR collaborates with the Université de Perpignan via Domitia and the Association Francophone de Protection des Plantes to study agricultural practices in developing countries (including chemical treatments) and pesticide residues in marketed products and the environment. The unit aims to achieve effective regulation of pest and disease populations using control methods that have the least harmful impact on the environment and human health. This means proposing farmers and consumers suitable trade-offs for efficient management of pathogen-related risks.

The unit’s activities are organized around two main research objectives:

  • to gain greater insight into and model epidemics and dynamics of pest populations so as to assess the impact of different agricultural interventions on pest and disease populations and on the damage incurred
  • to identify sustainable resistance in plants and assess their impact in controlling pathogens in the field.

The plant-pathogen models studied concern a few of the main pests of tropical tree crops: cocoa, coffee, coconut, natural rubber and oil palm.

The research is carried out within networks of experimental stations for the construction and evaluation of sustainable resistance and for epidemiological studies. The identification and prioritization of factors affecting the intensity of pathogen attacks or symptoms are based on observations, surveys and participatory in situ trials in networks of plots managed on farms or in private plantations.

The research activities are conducted in partnership with international organizations (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Global Coconut Research for Development Programme, International Rubber Research and Development Board, etc.), national research structures (Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement, Instituto del Café de Costa Rica, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, etc.) and development agencies. Crosscutting research collaborations are under way with other research units on the Agropolis campus.

The UPR thus produces new knowledge in the field of pest and disease biology and ecology, plant epidemiology and sustainable resistance. The findings of these studies are effectively used through the dissemination of new methods for predicting and managing biotic risks and the identification of sustainable resistance to pathogens. The unit’s research thus covers the conventional crop protection scope for tropical tree crops generally grown in conditions of very high parasite pressure, which often increases as orchards age. Its unique feature is the multidisciplinary aspect of its research, which combines, epidemiology, population dynamics, genetics, landscape ecology and biostatistics on various terrains and scales ranging from the tree to the landscape.

Director: Christian Cilas

21  scientists

Unit website

List of research examples/projects for the resarch unit UPR B-AMR Pests and Diseases: Risk Analysis and Control on Agronomy: crops and cropping systems topics

Contribution to cocoa mirid control in Africa

Sahlbergella singularis <em>adult and nymphs on a cocoa pod.  R. Babin © CIRAD

Cocoa cropping is one of the main income sources of rural families in the forest region of Cameroon. However, this crop is hampered by pests such as mirids. Sahlbergella singularis and Distantiella theobroma are the most damaging cocoa crop pests in Africa. In some countries, they are responsible for cocoa production losses of 30-40%.




Update on 19/04/12


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