Determining habitat requirements for natural enemies of crop pests

One of the Organic Farming Research Foundation’s stated goals is to “take a systemsmanagement (rather than an input-substitution) approach to solving production problems.” This goal is exactly in line with my research: I am studying the mechanisms of natural pest control to promote systems management rather than input-substitution solutions to pest problems. Inputsubstitution approaches to pest control use organic pesticides in place of the more common conventional chemicals, which farmers have found time and again to be ineffective. Integrated pest management has made strides toward understanding how natural enemies of agricultural pests can control their populations, and research has focused mainly on augmentation techniques (releasing commercially-reared predators). However, this is still input-substitution; farmers have to continually buy these insects to release in their fields. A true systems-management approach identifies factors in the farm and the surrounding landscape that could promote stable resident populations of natural enemies. My research encapsulates this approach, by asking: how does the landscape surrounding the farm impact natural enemies and their ability to provide effective pest control?