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Översiktsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

When is it biological control? A framework of definitions, mechanisms, and classifications

Stenberg, Johan A.; Sundh, Ingvar; Becher, Paul G.; Bjorkman, Christer; Dubey, Mukesh; Egan, Paul A.; Friberg, Hanna; Gil, Jose F.; Jensen, Dan F.; Jonsson, Mattias; Karlsson, Magnus; Khalil, Sammar; Ninkovic, Velemir; Rehermann, Guillermo; Vetukuri, Ramesh R.; Viketoft, Maria


Biological control, or biocontrol, is the exploitation of living agents (incl. viruses) to combat pestilential organisms (incl. pathogens, pests, and weeds) for diverse purposes to provide human benefits. Thus, during the last century the practices and concepts involved have evolved in separate streams associated with distinct scientific and taxonomic disciplines. In parallel developments, there have been increasing references to biological control in industrial contexts and legislation, resulting in conceptual and terminological disintegration. The aim of this paper is to provide a global conceptual and terminological platform that facilitates future development of the field. We review use of previously suggested terms in key fields (e.g., phytopathology, entomology, and weed science), eliminate redundant terminology, identify three principles that should underpin the concept, and then present a new framework for biological control, rooted in seminal publications. The three principles establish that (1) only living agents can mediate biological control, (2) biological control always targets a pest, directly or indirectly, and (3) all biocontrol methods can be classified in four main categories depending on whether resident agents are utilized, with or without targeted human intervention (conservation biological control and natural biological control, respectively) or agents are added for permanent or temporary establishment (classical biological control and augmentative biological control, respectively). Correct identification of what is, and is not, biological control can help efforts to understand and optimize biological pest control for human and environmental benefits. The new conceptual framework may contribute to more uniform and appropriate regulatory approaches to biological control, and more efficient authorization and application of biocontrol products.


Biocontrol; Biological control; Bioprotection; Ecosystem service; Integrated pest management; Soil suppressiveness

Publicerad i

Journal of Pest Science
2021, Volym: 94, nummer: 3, sidor: 665-676