Biological concept of crop pest management is age old concept, widely discussed and now implemented in various crops fields for managing different crops pests. Biological pest control is highly recommended for such crops whose produces are consumed in fresh form however, same is also applied in other crops too. Success and adoption in the scale is of course another question that requires empirical data(s).
As on date there is no clear indication of adoption of biological concept of pest management measures having been adopted by the faming communities in large scale at least in the Tripura perspective.
Of course, this is not the post to evaluate the merits and demerits of biological pest control methods for various crops.
This post is aimed to analyze the natualrry occurring pests which are otherwise control mechanisms that used to be playing the good role in managing the pest taking the upper hands in different crop production activities.
There are certain naturally occuring mechanisms that happen spontaneously in any given ecosystem without the knowledge of the mankind or at least we do no realize what are happening. These naturally occurring biological control mechanisms are now augmented for our betterment in different crop for managing the pest menace. The system is best described with natural food webs that exist in the balanced ecosystem.
There are different biological agents that worked in favor of the farmers by managing the insect pests and their menace in the natural ecosystem. In paddy ecosystem in the year 1984 to 1993, there happened to be various birds’ species which were found at the time of tilling of paddy fields.
These birds were found preying different insects, fishes and earthworms that comes up after the disturbances at the time of tilling of water logged paddy fields.
Different Birds in the System
I have had the personal experience of spotting different species of birds that flock in the paddy ecosystem for preying of different insects and fishes and mollusks from the water logged paddy ecosystems.
In the water logged paddy ecosystem two species of crane (small) were used to be found in the paddy field preying on frogs, fishes and insects at the time of tilling of water logged paddy fields. These birds used to be found in dawn to dusk in the paddy ecosystem preying on small aquatic species and insects etc.
In addition, other birds that used to be found abundantly in the village area are locally known “Shalik” that used to be found in the paddy ecosystem preying on the insects from the paddy fields.
Two types or species of “Shalik” species that used to flock in the paddy ecosystem found feeding on the insects which other wise depends on the rice plants as host during the cropping period of rice in the field.
There was also “DODO” a big bird which was found hunting the crab in the paddy ecosystem during the evening hour in the kharif season. Besides, some other small birds which get attracted during the tilling time of paddy ecosystem used to help the farmers for managing the otherwise insect pest menace of rice crop.
Crab in paddy fields is considered menace due to its soil boring nature which ultimately results in leakage or drain out of water from paddy field causing problems to the farmers.
Time of Spotting
Times of spotting of these birds species were prominent at the time of Kharif season that is to say that activities of different specifies of birds are most promiscuous in this season compare to Rabi season. It is due to the fact that in Tripura, since most of the cropping is dependent on monsoonal rainfall so many crop fields are kept fallow for a period of six to seven months.
It is during this time many species of insect, fishes, frogs and mollusk gets time to thrive in the paddy ecosystem and in surrounding ecosystem.
After onset of monsoon when farmer tills the lands, all these species developed in that ecosystem gets disturbed and come out which attracts all these naturally occurring species to target for.
Reason of Decline
As far as different species of bird is concerned, it is not seen like before. Reason for such disappearance is as follows:-
• Change of habitats of different bird species surrounding the fields.
• Decline of different aquatic species due to application of unscrupulous pesticides.
• Decline of different aquatic species due to change in rainfall pattern.
Now, the challenge that is being felt and anticipated in future is as follows:-
• Aquatic species viz: different small fishes, mollusk and frogs disappeared will affect in balancing the growth of certain aggressive species.
• In absence of naturally occurring bio agents, different crop pest will take upper hands.
• In absence of naturally occurring bio agents, dependent on chemical pesticides and insecticides will increase which would create more harm to the ecosystem.
Agritangkol dated 17.01.2012 at 11.10 A.M