The following thematic sessions have been approved:

1 Biocontrol of invasive alien grasses ▶
Full title: Invasive alien grasses as targets for weed biological control

Chairs: Iain Paterson, Greg Wheeler, Guy Sutton

Contact: I.Paterson@ru.ac.za

Invasive alien grasses (Poaceae) have historically been avoided as targets for biological control due to the perception that safe and effective agents are unlikely to exist. This perception is based on assumptions that grasses lack the complex secondary compounds that drive the diversification and host specialization of natural enemies, that grasses are tolerant of herbivory, and that natural enemies of invasive grasses may also feed on the many grasses that are grown as crops. Invasive alien grasses are however some of the most devastating alien species to global biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, with impacts that include increasing the frequency and intensity of fires, so the use of biological control as a potential management option can no longer be neglected. Recently, several biocontrol programmes against invasive alien grasses have been initiated. The speakers in this session will update the audience on the progress that has been made in biocontrol of grasses globally, recent developments that support or refute the use of biocontrol of grasses will be discussed, and recommendations for how grass biocontrol could be utilized to its maximum potential will be made.
2 Biological control and the agroecology toolkit ▶
Full title: Slotting biological control into the agroecology toolkit

Chairs: Kris Wyckhuys

Contact: kagwyckhuys@gmail.com

Agroecology is a holistic approach to agri-food production that is increasingly prominent in scientific, farmer and political circles. Agroecology is seen as an ‘indispensable ingredient’ of any effort that aims to transform the world’s food systems in order to make those more resource-frugal, climate-resilient and nature-friendly. The concept resonates well with many biological control scientists and - intuitively - much could be gained from a closer engagement with agroecology science and practice. Yet, though core agroecology principles such as input reduction, soil health, (on- and off-farm) biodiversity conservation or inter-organismal synergies all relate to the abundance, activity and performance of biological control organisms, the practice of biological control itself often does not explicitly feature in the agro-ecology toolkit. Indeed, many agroecologists are either unaware of the value of augmentative biological control or overly concerned about the ecological risks of natural enemy introductions. This compares to agronomic measures such as crop diversification, organic manuring or no-till and arthropod mediated services such as pollination or nutrient cycling – all of which are wholeheartedly embraced by agroecology scientists and practitioners alike. In this Session, we aim to showcase how a closer engagement between agroecology and biological control disciplines can favor cross-pollination, dispel some of the above misunderstandings, help pinpoint inventive ways e.g., to conserve resident natural enemies or to extend the lifespan of released (or introduced) biota and build critical momentum for biological control globally.
3 Risk assessment of cactus pests and weeds ▶
Full title: Risk assessment procedures for the safe import, quarantine rearing, and release of biological control agents against cactus pests and harmful cacti

Chairs: Laura Varone, M. Belén Aguirre

Contact: lauvarone@fuedei.org

Cacti are megadiverse and fascinating plants from the Americas. They hold significant cultural, ecological, economic, and medicinal value, particularly in arid and semiarid regions where they can be crucial for subsistence. Many cactus species, such as those in the Opuntia genus, are grown worldwide for their fruit and vegetable crops and are increasingly used as forage for livestock in dry areas. Unfortunately, cacti are among the most endangered groups according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, many cactus species have become invasive outside their native ranges, and a few of them are among the most damaging invasive plant species in the world causing significant ecological and economic harm. To address this issue, biological control programs have been developed, with countries like Australia and South Africa having a history of successful implementation. However, some biocontrol agents are also pests, threatening native cactus species and crops. Some cochineal insects used for biological control of invasive cactus also attack productive cactus crops like O. ficus-indica, which has become increasingly popular, creating a conflict of interest. At the same time, there are several natural enemies that are used to control cochineals in different parts of the world, but none of them are host-specific. The use of these generalist natural enemies in release areas could negatively impact released biological control agents. All natural enemies used for pest or weed control pose some level of risk to non-target species. Risk assessment procedures for the safe introduction of natural enemies include quarantine laboratory host range testing, damage prediction, natural enemies’ and interaction studies. Equally important but often overlooked is the post-release research to determine the establishment and success of the agent, the outcome of the introductions, and the reasons for failure or success. This session aims to provide updates on pre- and post-release recent research on potential biocontrol agents for cactus pests and cactus weeds globally.
4 Pre-emptive classical biological biocontrol ▶
Full title: Pre-emptive classical biological control: a novel approach to increase preparedness for potential biosecurity threats

Chairs: Gonzalo Avila, Mark Hoddle, Jana Collatz, Barbara Barratt

Contact: gonzalo.avila@plantandfood.co.nz

Recent years have seen a substantial increase in invasive insect species invading countries worldwide. Many of these insect species (e.g., brown marmorated stink bug, fall armyworm, spotted wing drosophila) are highly polyphagous and are considered serious as high-risk biosecurity threats to valued plant systems in many countries, and can result in serious economic losses to agriculture and horticulture industries. Classical biological control (CBC) is frequently adopted for sustainable management of invasive arthropod pests, and has often proved highly cost effective. However, the severity and imminent nature of some new high-risk insect threats means that it would be highly advantageous if we could avoid waiting for a pest to arrive before adopting CBC. Traditionally there is a delay of several years before a biological control agent (BCA) can be introduced while rese arch and biosafety testing is conducted. Therefore, there is a need for a pre-emptive approach to develop CBC for invasive insect pests prior to their arrival and establishment into new environments.\r\nPre-emptive biocontrol is a novel approach that provides the opportunity to develop CBC for invasive pests before they arrive in the country at risk of introduction. A critical aspect of this approach is that risk assessment is carried out in advance of the arrival of the pest. Implementing pre-emptive biocontrol risk assessment means that natural enemies can be selected, screened and pre-approved for release before an anticipated pest invasion, thus improving CBC effectiveness. As a good example of this approach, we have the recent pre-emptive biocontrol programme conducted in New Zealand for Halyomorpha halys, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB). This pre-emptive approach resulted in the approval (subject to strict controls), by New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority, to release Trissolcus japonicus in the event of a BMSB incursion in New Zealand. This novel example of pre-emptive biocontrol might provide the impetus for biocontrol practitioners to consider such an approach in the future for the early management of exotic pest incursions. \r\nWe believe that this novel approach of conducting classical biological control will be of great interest to scientists and biocontrol practitioners attending the Third International Congress of Biological Control (ICBC3) in San José, Costa Rica. Therefore, we propose a scientific session on pre-emptive biological control where the primary goal will be to highlight the importance of pre-emptive biocontrol, and to collect scientific presentations addressing the concepts, applications, and its current status.
5 Classical biological control in sub-tropical Africa ▶
Full title: Recent advances in the classical biological control of alien invasive insects in sub-tropical Africa

Chairs: Ivan Rwomushana, Samira Mohamed, Haile Abera

Contact: i.rwomushana@cabi.org

The last two decades have experienced an upsurge in the introduction of alien invasive insects in various parts of sub-tropical Africa, driven by factors such as increasing trade, travel and tourism while climate change has further exacerbated the impacts. A number of these insect species have become established as pests on agricultural crops, causing significant yield losses and resulted in the reliance and over-use of synthetic pesticides for their control. Consequently, there is a renewed interest in classical biological control as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly approach that can solve these alien pest problems while conserving native insect biodiversity. With the much broader understanding of ISPM3 and ABS regulations by countries, the devastating impacts of the arrival of new invasive alien pests can be mitigated using classical biological control. Therefore, in the last ten years, a number of agencies such as CABI, FAO, ICIPE and IITA in collaboration with national partners have imported, undertaken risk assessments and released a number of classical biological control agents against alien invaders such as fall armyworm, mango mealybug, papaya mealybug and tomato leaf miner in several countries. This session seeks to bring together global experts and institutions working on classical biological control to share experiences and impacts of this approach, and explore opportunities for further work and collaboration in this area.
6 Technology transfer for the uptake of biocontrol ▶
Full title: Importance of the technology transfer and collaboration platforms for the uptake of Biological Control

Chairs: Yelitza Colmenarez, Lorena Barra Bucarei, Malvika Chaudhary

Contact: y.colmenarez@cabi.org

To present results and experience on case studies highlighting the effect and impact of technology transfer and collaboration platforms on the update of biological control at the field level. The talks will review the pathway of technology transfer from research to the uptake of Biocontrol, and the role of growers in the research and M&E process. Public-private initiatives will be presented to discuss the importance of these types of collaboration platforms, highlighting some case studies.
7 Applied biological control in Latin America ▶
Full title: Advance of applied Biological Control in Latin America

Chairs: Yelitza Colmenarez, Lorena Barra Bucarei, Adeney de Freitas Bueno

Contact: y.colmenarez@cabi.org

The Neotropical Region is well-known for its high biodiversity which can favour the use of biological control agents for the sustainable management of key pests and pathogens affecting the crops. The aim of the scientific session is to present the advances of the different biological control programmes applied in key crops and commodities in Latin America, highlighting the results and experience of countries from the region, and discussing factors that enable or disable the use and uptake of biological control in the region.
8 Use and preservation of parasitoids in agriculture ▶
Full title: Use and preservation of parasitoids in agriculture: Challenges and Potential

Chairs: Prof. Matthew Tinsley, Yelitza C. Colmenarez

Contact: matthew.tinsley@stir.ac.uk

To present results and experiences with the use of parasitoids as Biological Control agents in Integrated Pest Management programmes in Latin America, highlighting Augmentative and Conservation Biological Control practices applied in key crops.
9 Biological control in a changing world! ▶
Full title: Biocontrol in a changing world! Develop and broadcast biocontrol strategies resilient to climate change and biodiversity loss

Chairs: Louis Sutter, Michelle Fountain

Contact: louis.sutter@agroscope.admin.ch

In a world struggling with the profound impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, biological control strategies have become a critical tool for sustainable agriculture and ecosystem management. This session will highlight the critical role of biological control in adapting to our changing environment and explore innovative approaches to developing and disseminating resilient biological control strategies. The session will be highlighting the importance of biological control for sustainable agriculture and conservation. Speakers can discuss the importance of biological control in a changing world, present the latest research and advances in biological control strategies, and share real-world examples of successful initiatives. It will further allow discussions between experts from diverse backgrounds, including scientists, practitioners and policymakers. They will share their insights and discuss the current state of biocontrol efforts in the face of climate change and biodiversity loss. Strategies for integrating biocontrol efforts into broader conservation and agricultural policies will be discussed. The session will also feature case studies of successful biocontrol efforts from different regions and ecosystems, providing valuable insights and best practices for implementing resilient biocontrol strategies.rnFinally, participants will be encouraged to take concrete action to develop and promote biocontrol strategies that can thrive in a changing world. Ultimately, these efforts will contribute significantly to biodiversity conservation and agricultural sustainability, and ensure more resilient and harmonious coexistence with our ever-changing environment.rn
10 Foodborne and plant pathogens biological control ▶
Full title: Progress on the biological control of foodborne and plant pathogens of agricultural commodities

Chairs: Dr. Modesto Olanya, Dr. Adelumula (Ade) Oladeinde, Dr. Dilip Laksman, Professor (Dr.) Peter Ojiambo

Contact: modesto.olanya@usda.gov

The goal of the session is to highlight current research on the biocontrol of foodborne and plant pathogens as well as the diversity of technologies used for the biological control of important agricultural commodities. To date, advances in the biocontrol of foodborne and plant pathogens have lagged the biocontrol of insect/animal pests in terms of field applications and utility. This could partly be attributed to specificity of controls, types of pathogens/pests, efficacy of controls and applicable technologies. In this symposium, we will address and discuss various examples of research and utility of biocontrol interventions for mitigation of foodborne and plant pathogens and their subsequent effects on food safety. For foodborne pathogens, examples will be drawn from current research on safe and beneficial microorganisms for control of pathogens in diverse systems e.g., bacteria in pre- and post-harvest foods (broiler chicken production) or on produce (predatory bacteria and antimicrobials) and active polymer coating with antimicrobials for pathogen inactivation. For plant pathogens, the utility of microbial diversity and suppressive soils for disease control, as well as updates on technologies for biocontrol of toxicogenic fungi in diverse cropping systems will be highlighted. An overview of challenges and potential impediments to the applications of biocontrol interventions for foodborne and plant pathogens will be discussed and future implications addressed.
11 Adoption of IPM for successful biological control ▶
Full title: The importance of IPM adoption for biological control success

Chairs: Adeney de Freitas Bueno, Yelitza Colmenarez

Contact: adeney.bueno@embrapa.br

To present results and case studies about the importance of IPM adoption for promoting a more sustainable environment that increases the odds of biological control success in the field, especially regarding both Augmentative and Conservation Biological Control strategies.
12 Conservation biological control in Latin America ▶
Full title: Conservative biological control in Latin America: advances and challenges

Chairs: Simone Mundstock Jahnke, Yelitza Colmenarez, Marcus Vinicius Sampaio

Contact: mundstock.jahnke@ufrgs.br

From a historical perspective and looking into the future, Conservative biological control (CBC) arises as an alternative to conventional pest management practices with the goal of decreasing negative impacts on the ecosystem. Most of the work carried out with CBC is registered in Europe, however, researchers and farmers in countries in the Neotropical region have been looking for alternatives based on these techniques. This scientific session aims to raise aspects related to CBC in Latin America, especially regarding the actions of the IOBC/NTRS working groups. We seek to describe the WGT's proposals and actions, demands and opportunities in different sectors and show examples of this type of BC in peasant agriculture and large-scale farms. This session is organized by the IOBC-NTRS WG coordinators. The goals of the working group. The creation of the group, the extent of the group's participation, the profile of the participants and the actions that have been developed, with examples of work.
13 Improving biological control traits ▶
Full title: Targeting biological control traits for improvement: challenges and future directions

Chairs: Kelley Leung, Leo W. Beukeboom, Eric Wajnberg

Contact: k.leung@rug.nl

Targeting specific biological control traits for improvement is highly topical. With the import of novel agents being restricted by the Nagoya protocol, researchers and practitioners have looked to optimize the performance of populations already in use. This session explores the emerging successful methods and challenges that arise in this process. How are target traits that have significant impact on mass rearing and storage, field performance, and ecological safety identified and chosen for an improvement regiment? How are they effectively improved? Are they amenable to artificial selection, manipulation through a specific genetic mechanism, or effect from changes in environmental conditions? There are various approaches and perspectives that may be synthesized to present concrete objectives to the field as a whole. For example, several of the potential speakers have noted the lack of high-quality data on the genetic variation and measurement of life history traits across biocontrol agents. A session outcome may be drafting a standardized approach of collecting this data and making it widely available, i.e. through a new or existing universal database. They may also identify patterns across their work for direction that are most promising, e.g. are fitness traits for production more or less subject to improvement than pest-killing ability? This session highlights specific point to the growing number of arguments for amending the Nagoya protocol. In congruence with preserving global access and benefit sharing equity, additional provisions should be made to secure materials for non-profit research purposes. Many of the fundamental knowledge gaps about how to improve biological control traits cannot filled without access to materials from origin populations. Have captive populations lost genetic diversity and/or phenotypic plasticity relative to their native counterparts? Does this limit their capacity for improvement? This session will help elucidate the most promising directions for targeted biological trait improvement and solutions for problems in approaches and policy.
14 Biodiversity-based pest management practices ▶
Full title: Enhanced biodiversity at landscape level for sustainable management of crop pests

Chairs: Feng Zhang, Oliver Bach

Contact: f.zhang@cabi.org

Intensive agriculture has led to several drawbacks such as biodiversity loss, climate change, soil erosion, and environmental pollution. It also creates unfavorable environments for natural enemies and pollinator insects. A potential solution is to implement management practices that increase the level of provision of ecosystem services such as conservation biological control. In this session, we will bring experts from different continents to showcase successful biodiversity-based pest management practices and stimulate discussions on further uptake and research at different levels.
15 Biological control in a context of policy ▶
Full title: Biological control in a national and international policy context

Chairs: Andy Sheppard, Raghu Sathyamurthy, Dick Shaw, Peter Mason

Contact: Andy.Sheppard@csiro.au

To better integrate biological control into pest weed and disease management policy as a best practice management tool to support national delivery of SDG 15 and the CBD Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Target 6. Depite clear recognition of biological control as an effective management approach by the CBD, IUCN and IPPC, most countries around the world remain very cautious of its use despite a highly recent history of use globally and an internationally agreed risk analysis framework. This can not continue in a world where chemical control will be gone within 15 years. This Session will address the national and international policy related acceptance and adoption challenges to help understand why governments continue to ignore the evidence of its effectiveness and cost benefit and are biased by historical errors and mistakes in their risk perception of this discipline. This needs to change if this discipline is to grow in the 21st Century. This session explore strategies to address this with governments that still see biological control as high risk and keep invoking a strict precautionary principle context around this approach.
16 Contribution of mycovirus in biological control ▶
Full title: The contribution of mycovirus in the biocontrol

Chairs: Daohong Jiang, Jiatao Xie, Liying Sun, Beilei Wu

Contact: daohongjiang@mail.hzau.edu.cn

Mycoviruses are beginning to play an increasingly meaningful role in biological control, and their prospects for biocontrol applications are full of expectations, whether in biological control fungi or in pathogenic fungi.
17 Modeling biological control interactions ▶
Full title: Modeling biological control interactions in support of agriculture and conservation

Chairs: George Heimpel, Tamar Keasar, Michal Segoli

Contact: heimp001@umn.edu

Biological control interactions take place in complex ecological webs, and are also affected by human-associated constraints such as costs, difficulties in rearing agents, and limitation on resources. Amidst all of this complexity, it can be difficult to accurately predict which of the various courses of action open to biological control researchers will lead to what outcomes. Various modeling approaches have been developed over the history of biological control science to better understand the determinants of effective biological control. While these models have been instrumental in conceptualizing important interactions, their tangible contributions the practical implementation of biological control have remained limited. In this session we present a diverse array of perspectives on the utility of conceptual, mathematical and statistical modeling for the understanding of biological control interactions, and ultimately for the improvement of biological control predictability and efficacy. Topics covered include the use of simulation models to understand the influence of climate change and landscape structure on biological control interactions, the use of natural enemy-informed dynamic threshold models to reduce insecticide use, the importance of natural enemy traits in determining the efficacy of biological control, and guidelines for balancing potential benefits and risks of biological control introductions.
18 Role of microbials in sustainable agriculture ▶
Full title: Use of Microbials as biological control agents in Sustainable Agriculture

Chairs: Lorena Barra Bucarei, Yelitza Colmenarez

Contact: lorena.barra@inia.cl

Evaluation of the microorganisms reported in Latin America reinforces the high biodiversity present in the region and the importance of them as Biological Control agents. This scientific session will look forward to presenting the results and highlighting case studies on the use of microbial as a key component in Sustainable Agriculture.
19 Developments in Vertebrate biocontrol control ▶
Full title: Vertebrate Pest Control

Chairs: Ellen Cottingham

Contact: ellen.cottingham@unimelb.edu.au

This session will focus on technologies for the management or reduction of vertebrate pest populations. Such technologies may include the use of genetic biocontrol, pathogens or immunocontraceptives.
20 Enrichment of entomopathogens with nutrients ▶
Full title: Fortification of biopesticides

Chairs: Suman Sanjta

Contact: sumansanjta@hillagric.ac.in

Development and availability of biopesticides which also provide nutrient to plants. Hence, healthy plant will exhibit higher level of resistance to pests and simultaneously the entomopathogen will manage the pest.
21 Biocontrol and climate change ▶
Full title: Biocontrol and climate change: challenges and adaptation

Chairs: van Baaren Joan, MA Chun-Sen, Colmenarez Yelitza

Contact: joan.van-baaren@univ-rennes.fr

During the last fifty years, human activities have profoundly modified the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, giving rise to what has been defined by the terminology "global environmental changes", which include changes in land use and climatic changes. The simplification of landscapes and the homogenization of cultivated land surfaces have led to the degradation of the number and diversity of natural and semi-natural elements. The retroactive effect of this land use consists of a loss of diversity within plant communities, affecting higher trophic levels and leading to a loss of animal biodiversity. For example, 75% of the biomass of flying insect communities has been lost on European territory in almost 30 years. Together with intensive land use, human activity and the associated increase in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere is responsible for a second major feedback effect, global climate change. This results in an increase in average temperatures as well as in the number of extreme climatic events, such as droughts or major floods, storms, heat waves or unpredictable cold snaps. For living organisms, a growing number of studies have thus been able to demonstrate that the modification of abiotic conditions, from the global scale to the local scale, is responsible for changes in phenology (i.e. periodic event of biological activity determined by seasonal variations) and geographic distributions. Intensive land use and climate change are thus two factors responsible for global environmental changes and the loss of biodiversity suffered by ecosystems such as agroecosystems. These biotic and abiotic modifications are responsible for changes in the physiology of living organisms, in the relative abundance of individuals of different species and finally in the specific diversity of communities. All of these biotic and abiotic changes are at the origin of an alteration in the interactions between species and trophic levels, which has led to modifications in the very functioning of these ecosystems and thus in the associated ecosystem services. In agroecosystems, one of the major ecosystem services is that of the biological control of crop pests. This ecological process, due to its close link with biodiversity, has been significantly affected by global environmental changes. The term biological control is generally used to define any suppression of an organism harmful to humans (pests, such as insects, mites, weeds and plant diseases) by another living organism, called Biological control agents (BCA), which includes predators, parasitoids, pathogens, fungi, bacteria, virus…. Related to biological pest control is the technique of introducing sterile individuals into the native population of some organism. This technique is widely practised with insects. Biological control involves an active human management role and can be an important component of integrated pest management (IPM) programs. There are three basic strategies for biological pest control: classical (importation), where a natural enemy of a pest is introduced in the hope of achieving control; inductive (augmentation), in which a large population of natural enemies are administered for quick pest control; and inoculative (conservation), in which measures are taken to maintain natural enemies through regular reestablishment. The aim of this session is to review the effect (either positive or negative) of climate change on the ecosystem service of Biocontrol, in all its components.
22 Trends in commercial biological control ▶
Full title: Trajectory of commercial biological control in North America and Europe

Chairs: Lynn M. LeBeck

Contact: exdir@anbp.org

Goal of session: Describe and discuss current trends and future opportunities in commercial biological control including: 1) new products and market forces, 2) regulatory barriers and initiatives, 3) research on production and application of natural enemies, 4) grower (user) support for successful implementation, and 5) current trends and future opportunities in commercial biological control. Speakers will be encouraged to include the latest information on microbial products, both for arthropods and plant pathogens. We are hoping to co-organize with the IBMA or include the BPIA from North America, associations that serve the bioproduct industries.
23 Biological functions and biocontrol strategies ▶
Full title: Insights on Secondary Metabolites produced by Trichoderma: From basic to applied research.

Chairs: Francesco Vinale, Isabel Vicente, Alessia Staropoli

Contact: frvinale@unina.it

For many years, Trichoderma spp. have demonstrated their effectiveness as biocontrol agents in crop protection since they are capable of directly controlling phytopathogens and induce systemic defense in plants. The high opportunistic potential of Trichoderma, its versatile lifestyle, and its adaptability to changing ecological conditions makes these fungi interesting models for the study of a wide range of ecological interactions. The Trichoderma success in the rhizosphere would not have been possible without a wide and plastic secondary metabolite (SM) arsenal. These compounds, even if not indispensable for survival, play a key role in determining the nature of the interactions Trichoderma stablishes with other organisms and, ultimately, its lifestyle itself. SMs facilitate niche adaptation by providing physiological autoregulation, self-protection, and fungal communication, acting as carriers of information. Since Trichoderma spp. exhibit different chemotypes depending on ecological surroundings and in response to biotic/abiotic changes, selection of suitable biocontrol strains should also rely on metabolites produced in each context. This Session will be focused on four important aspects related to SMs produced by Trichoderma within the biocontrol framework: 1) New metabolites produced by Trichoderma and their contribution to beneficial associations or antagonistic interactions with plants, animals, and other microbes. 2) The “one metabolite-many biological functions” perspective, or how can a single metabolite take part in different biological processes according to cell status and environmental challenges. 3) Management of SM production in Trichoderma and strain selection for biocontrol and crop protection purposes. 4) Interaction of SMs with macromolecules at intra- and intercellular level, either within the own colony and with surrounding organisms.
24 Socio-economics of biological control ▶
Full title: Socio-economics of biological control

Chairs: Justice Tambo, Beatrice Muriithi

Contact: j.tambo@cabi.org

Crop pests continue to cause significant economic losses and pose serious threats to environmental sustainability and food security, particularly in low-income food-deficit countries. While biological control is considered an environmentally friendly and sustainable way of managing crop pests, uptake is poor in many developing countries. Among the key obstacles to adoption include socio-economic factors, such as a lack of availability of biological control agents (BCAs) in local markets, and farmers knowledge and perceptions about its impacts and cost-effectiveness. The proposed session will provide an opportunity to discuss economic impacts of biocontrol and some potential solutions to the socio-economic barriers to its uptake in low-income countries. The session will take stock of methodological approaches for studying the economic value of biological control and provide a global overview of studies examining the economic impacts of biological control initiatives. Examples of recent assessments of the socio-economic impacts of biological control interventions in Africa and Asia will be presented. The session will also highlight the importance of gender in the adoption of biological control, which is often overlooked. Specifically, gender differences in farmers perceptions and knowledge of biological control, as well as how best to support women farmers to adopt BCAs will be discussed. Finally, a case study on business models for incentivizing local production of BCAs will be presented at the session.
25 Mechanism in conservation biological control ▶
Full title: Mechanism in Conservation Biological Control

Chairs: Tania Zaviezo

Contact: tzaviezo@uc.cl

Most studies in conservation biological control in insects report how vegetation management practices affect the presence and/or abundance of beneficial insects, mostly in the vegetation itself and few in the crops. However, the mechanisms explaining these patterns and effects are rarely evaluated. In this session we want to present studies that provide evidence of the mechanisms by which vegetation management increases natural enemies and/or biological control in crops.
26 Leveraging biological control successes ▶
Full title: Drivers of the success of biological control in mixed cropping systems

Chairs: Frank Chidawanyika, Casper Nyamukondiwa, Honest Machekano

Contact: fchidawanyika@icipe.org

Despite biological control being a key component of integrated pest management, its global success is variable due to diverse cropping systems and landscape contexts. In the case of conventional farming systems, there is consensus that the monocultures, which are typically associated with high-input usage and overly simplified agroecosystem, lead to limited resources and microhabitats for beneficial organisms. To counter this, agroecology through mixed cropping systems has been posited as a solution that improves habitat complexity for in-situ conservation of natural enemies through the realised crop-based resources such as nectar microhabitat refuge space. Such mixed crop systems can be achieved in various ways by using e.g. intercropping (growing different crops together in the same alternating rows), strip cropping (planting different crop trips in alternating fashion), and relay cropping (planting one crop after another in the same season). Such mixed cropping can be designed to achieve various outcomes including landscape resource continuity, dietary diversity and improved profitability and for ecosystem services such as nitrogen fixation, and pest control through increased natural enemy realised activity. A case on point is the renowned push-pull technology where intercropping of food crops (e.g. maize, vegetables, edible legumes) are intercropped with fodder plants to achieve crop protection through both parasitoid recruitment and the repulsion of pests. Although other scholars have argued that pest control in such systems can also be achieved by non-host plants merely acting as physical barriers of host plants, a growing body of literature is showing how such systems improvee the activity of parasitoids and other natural enemies to variable success depending on various factors that influence the parasitoid population dynamics. This is especially important for cases of newly released parasitoids facing novel environments where demographic allee effects can be dependent on habitat connectivity/fragmentation, disturbances (e.g. land use patterns, fire or pesticides) and climate factors. The current session will therefore address the key biophysical drivers influencing the success of biological control at both landscape and farm/crop level in both agroecology and conventional farming systems. Some of the themes may include, but not limited to, i) climate factors ii) landscape attributes e.g. grasslands vs shrubs and their diversity, iii) economic performance of biocontrol and iv) interaction of biocontrol strategy (i.e. classical, augmentation, conservation) and the cropping system and its impact on success.
27 Raising awareness for action: Country perspective ▶
Full title: Raising awareness for action: Country perspectives on community engagement and what it means for those researchers

Chairs: Kim Weaver, Grant Martin

Contact: k.weaver@ru.ac.za

The goal of the session “Raising awareness for action” would be an opportunity for researchers to share their community engagement initiatives from their respective countries. We propose to get experience and examples from the globe to review current and past community engagement efforts to facilitate meaningful future community engagement activities. Sharing how researchers have used digital platforms will be useful too. Finally, the purpose behind including action into the title of the session is for us to use this platform and support to assist, develop, implement and expand biological control initiatives within communities around the globe.
28 Biological control of plant diseases ▶
Full title: Biocontrol of plant diseases: efficacy, durability and integration

Chairs: BARDIN Marc

Contact: marc.bardin@inrae.fr

Field use of microbial biocontrol agents against plant diseases is much more complex than applying chemical control, as their protective efficacy is influenced by the combination of a large number of agronomic as well as biotic and abiotic factors. The purpose of the session is to gather representatives of end-users (farmers, farm advisers), the biocontrol industry, and academia (including PhD students) to discuss issues on the development of biocontrol against plant diseases. The different objectives of this session will be to : - review the factors modulating the protective efficacy of biocontrol microbial agents, and the levers for improving their efficacy. - review our knowledge of the durability of this plant protection tool and the risks associated with the development of pathogen resistance - evaluate the ability to combine these tools with other protection tools as part of an integrated pest management strategy - identify new approaches for the development of new microbe-based biocontrol products
29 Aquatic weed biological control ▶
Full title: Biological control of aquatic weeds

Chairs: Julie Coetzee, Alejandro Sosa, Melissa Smith

Contact: julie.coetzee@ru.ac.za

The goal of the session is to bring together aquatic weed biocontrol scientists from all over the world together, to share recent developments and insights in control of these species. The session will include wetland invaders, and cover topics such as new biocontrol targets, integrated management, restoration followinig control.
30 Molecular tools in biological control ▶
Full title: Molecular Tools in Biological Control

Chairs: Tara Gariepy, Jason Schmidt

Contact: tara.gariepy@agr.gc.ca

To highlight the use of molecular tools in biological control, in particular in terms of population genetics, understanding host-parasitoid associations, and foodweb ecology
31 Adventive introductions and range extensions ▶
Full title: Unassisted migration: Adventive introductions, range extensions and other adventures of biocontrol agents around the world

Chairs: Chandra Moffat, David Ensing

Contact: chandra.moffat@agr.gc.ca

ncreasingly, potential biocontrol agents are being detected on target species in introduced ranges, despite no intentional movement activities, or approvals for release, having yet occurred. Other intentionally introduced biocontrol agents are being found to have expanded beyond their original target area or jurisdiction into new environments. These unassisted movements provide both benefits and risks: effective control may result, but for agents that have not yet had full risk assessment completed non-target impacts may not be well predicted. Such unassisted movements may influence the efficacy of existing biocontrol programs, alter ecological relationships or ecosystem dynamics, and present new opportunities or challenges to land managers and regulators. Further, within country / continent movement of ‘native’ species to ecosystems where they do not presently occur for use as biological control agents presents similar potential benefits and risks. In this session, we will share recent research highlighting the benefits and risks of unintentional or unassisted movements of importation biocontrol agents for arthropods and weeds around the world, as well as the benefits and risks of within-jurisdiction movement of native species for biocontrol.
32 In-country uptake of biological control products ▶
Full title: What needs to be done to improve the uptake of biological control? A multi-stakeholder perspective

Chairs: Ulrich Kuhlmann

Contact: u.kuhlmann@cabi.org

Biological control products are an important component of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach for the control of arthropod pests, weeds and diseases. They include macrobials (e.g. insect-parasitic nematodes, predatory and parasitic arthropods) and microbials (e.g. fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens). At the farm level, biological control is used in two main ways: conservation biological control through measures that aim at increasing indigenous natural enemy populations, and augmentative biological control by the deliberate release of cultured macrobial and microbial biological control agents. Concerns about the toxicity of synthetic pesticides to humans and the environment and issues of resistance to pesticides are making the use of biological control products increasingly attractive. The biological control products’ share of the global crop protection market is still small, however it is growing rapidly at a steady rate, although Africa is being left behind. Agricultural advisory service provision has the potential to actively contribute to the promotion of biological control products. However, there is considerable scope to increase the number of biological control-based pest management recommendations by extension workers. Limited availability of registered products, lack of incentives for the production and use of biological control products, limited availability in agri-input supplier outlets and high prices are identified as major external barriers to the uptake of biological control products. Therefore, a multi-stakeholder approach is required to further support the uptake of biological control products as countries need a wider range of registered, available and affordable biological control products and data showing their efficacy under local conditions. A panel discussion will be organized to discuss the different stakeholder perspectives (e.g. regulatory, advisory service, research, consumer/retailer, production) being implemented to improve the uptake of biological control.
33 Free session ▶
Full title: Free session