Diversity and impacts of key grassland and forage arthropod pests in China and New Zealand: an overview of IPM and biosecurity opportunities.
For both New Zealand and China, agriculture is integral to the economy, supporting primary production in both intensive and extensive farming systems. Grasslands have important ecosystem and biodiversity functions, as well providing valuable grazing for livestock. However, production and persistence of grassland and forage species (e.g. alfalfa) is not only compromised by overgrazing, climate change and habitat fragmentation, but from a range of pests and diseases, which impose considerable costs on growers in lost production and income. Some of these pest species are native, but increasingly, international trade is seeing the rapid spread of exotic and invasive species. New Zealand and China are major trading partners with significant tourist flow between the two countries. This overview examines the importance of grasslands and alfalfa in both countries, the current knowledge on the associated insect pest complex and biocontrol options. Identifying similarities and contrasts in biology and impacts along with some prediction on the impact of invasive insect species, especially under climate change, are possible. However, it is suggested that coordinated longitudinal ecological research, carried out in both countries using sentinel grass and forage species, is critical to addressing gaps in our knowledge of biology and impact of potential pests, along with identifying opportunities for control, particularly using plant resistance or biological control.