Effects of defoliation by the edible caterpillar “chitoumou” (Cirina butyrospermi) on harvests of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) and growth of maize (Zea mays)
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Payne, C. (2019). Effects of defoliation by the edible caterpillar “chitoumou” (Cirina butyrospermi) on harvests of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) and growth of maize (Zea mays). Agroforestry Systems https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-019-00385-5
Edible insects are found in agricultural systems worldwide, and are an important source of food and income. However, many edible insects are also pests of important food crops, which raises the question of how far their presence might be costly to farmers in terms of reduced crop yields. In this study we aimed to understand the impact of defoliation of shea trees by edible caterpillars on yields of shea and maize in a mixed agroforestry system in Burkina Faso, West Africa. We collected field data in two consecutive years. Our results suggest that tree defoliation by caterpillars has no effect on shea fruit yields, and that defoliation may have a positive effect on maize productivity. We conclude that this appears to be an example of an agricultural system in which nutritionally and economically important plants and insects are both harvested by humans without risking yield reductions of harvested plants.
We ... thank the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK (NERC), King’s College, Cambridge, and the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, for financial support.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-019-00385-5
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/291673
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/