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Doctoral thesis2012Open access

Pesticide use in periurban areas : farmers’ and neighbours’ perceptions and attitudes, and agricultural field influences on pests in nearby garden plants

Ahmed, Nur


Public concern about pesticide use is very high, although it varies with social, ethical and political factors. In periurban regions, farmers live close to people with other occupations. Thus farming activities such as pesticide spraying may cause tensions. Pesticide use may also cause changes in pest abundances outside the treated field, on plants in neighbouring gardens. The first part of this thesis compared perceptions of pesticide use by farmers and their neighbours in two periurban regions in Sweden. Neighbours reported using pesticides, but perceived pesticide use to be more negative than farmers did. Neighbours also perceived themselves as pesticide non-users to a higher extent than farmers, although both categories used pesticides in their home setting to a similar extent. Perceptions of pesticide use differed between farmers and neighbours but also between groups of farmers, depending on farm size, whether pesticides were used or not, number of crops grown and pesticide safety knowledge. In two field studies, abundances of pests were compared in garden crops adjacent to insecticide-treated and untreated agricultural fields. The garden crops were not subjected to wind drift during insecticide spraying. Despite this, pest abundance and their damage on vegetables and ornamental flowers in nearby gardens decreased with insecticide use in the agricultural fields. The magnitude of this decrease depended on type of insect pests targeted, garden plants tested and timing of pesticide applications. In general, perceptions and attitudes concerning pesticide use differed between groups of people in the periurban society studied, e.g. with social factors such as gender, age and education. The fact that pesticide use in agricultural fields may actually benefit neighbouring garden crops is a novel finding. The findings presented here can be of use for policy makers to avoid conflicts regarding pesticide use in periurban environments, since it is important to address variations in the views of different groups of people in society and to communicate both the negative and positive effects of pesticide use.


Urban-rural fringe; herbicide; fungicide; insecticide ; location; safety knowledge; pollen beetle; flea beetle; cabbage root fly; radish; oilseed rape; vegetables; ornamental flowers; window traps; soil traps

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2012, number: 2012:37
ISBN: 978-91-576-7673-3
Publisher: Dept. of Agrosystems, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    Associated SLU-program

    Future Agriculture (until Jan 2017)

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
    Agricultural Science

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