A multi-scale bio-economic approach to optimising the management of emerging rodent crop pest

Lead Research Organisation: University of Aberdeen
Department Name: College of Life Sci and Med Graduate Sch


This project will formulate and parameterise bio-economic models of vole pest control in farmland environment (e.g. Stenseth et al. 2003) so as to optimise the effectiveness of integrated management strategies that minimise the impact on non-target species. It will empirically estimate key variables including: 1) the relationship between vole abundance and damage to crops; 2) the risk of secondary poisoning by non-target fauna in relation to the seasonal timing of toxin use and presence of vulnerable migratory or endemic species; 3) the impact of alternatives to the use of toxins such as management of field margins by burning or scraping, both on voles and non-target species, 4) the effectiveness of soil management aimed at collapsing burrow systems, either through the use of cattle, simulated cattle or deep ploughing. Optimisation models will be used to explore the value of monitoring to enable early and more benign interventions in the development of outbreaks through, for example, the deployment of raptor perches over isolated vole colonies in largely tree-less intensively farmed landscapes. The acceptability of management models by farmers will be mainly assessed through interviews and workshops with farmer's cooperatives.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M010996/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1806187 Studentship BB/M010996/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2020 Deon Roos
Description Farming practices, which increase the risk of crop pests occupying a given field, were identified. This included the identification of various crops and tillage practices, some of which are promoted for a variety of reasons (e.g. improved soil Carbon sequestration rates, improved crop yields etc.), which substantially increase the likelihood that a crop pest will both, persist from one year to the next in that field, as well as produce offspring able to colonise previously unoccupied farms.
Exploitation Route Our collaborators in Spain are in a position to both advise farmers on how they may mitigate the risk of crop pests occupying their farms, as well as inform government officials regarding the relevancy of these results. Currently we are in the early stages of summarising the information for farmers and how they may use the results at their discretion.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

Description Newsletter for farmers (Castilla y León, Spain) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two newsletters were produced giving guidance to farmers on measures they can take to reduce the likelihood that their fields become infested with a pest (common voles).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://plagas.itacyl.es