The uptake of biological control in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Lenteren, J.C. van; Cock, M.J.W.


Biological control started to be used in the 1880s in Latin America and the Caribbean and has since developed into a widely applied pest management method. Currently almost 32 million hectares are under classical, more than 31 million hectares under augmentative and hundreds of thousands of hectares under conservation biocontrol. Achievements in this region have been impressive and are documented in this chapter. Several factors frustrate the implementation of biocontrol on an even larger area. The most important are the dominance of the pesticide industry, the negative effect of pesticides on biological and natural pest control, governmental 'subsidies' to keep chemical control cheap, the lack of funding for research and implementation of biocontrol, and an expensive, time-consuming regulatory framework. However, inherent positive characteristics of biocontrol contribute to sustainable pest management, a healthier and biodiverse environment, pesticide-free food and improved yields. These characteristics, together with the large-scale natural enemy prospecting programmes, the documentation of the many cases of natural control and the successful regional collaboration on area-wide control of new invasive pests, point at a bright future for biocontrol in Latin America and the Caribbea