Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Ecologically-based rodent management in SE Asia: Changing rules of engagement with agricultural intensification and extreme climatic events (#44)

Alexander M Stuart 1 , Nyo Me Htwe 2 , Nguyen Thi My Phung 3 , Urassaya Boonpramuk 4 , Arlyna Budi Pustika 5 , . Sudarmaji 5 , Grant R Singleton 1 6
  1. Crop and Environmental Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute, Manila, Philippines
  2. Plant Protection Division, Department of Agriculture, Yangon, Myanmar
  3. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, An Giang, Vietnam
  4. Division of Rice Research and Development, Rice Department, , Bangkok, Thailand
  5. Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology, Yogyakarta , Indonesia
  6. Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Kent, UK

Rodents are one of most damaging pests of rice in Southeast Asia, with reported pre-harvest losses of 5-10% per annum. Based on a strong understanding of rodent pest ecology, it is known that the breeding seasons for the most important rodent pest species in Southeast Asia are closely linked to rice cropping seasons due to the abundant availability of food provided by the growing rice crop. Thus, ecologically-based rodent management (EBRM) strategies for rice ecosystems generally include synchronous planting and extended fallow periods to reduce pest population build-up. However, an increasing pressure to produce more food with less land and labor availability has led to intensified cropping frequency and changes to cropping systems that can pose challenges for EBRM. In addition, extreme climatic events, which are likely to become more frequent with global warming, can extend the availability of food for rodent pests due to significant changes to the rice production landscape. For example, crop damage due to severe flooding events can lead to asynchronous planting as farmers plant opportunistically with limited resources in an attempt to recover their losses as soon as possible. Due to such issues, there is an increasing need to manage rodent pests on a larger scale and develop strategies to deal with extreme weather events. In this paper, we provide an update on rodent issues in five rice-growing countries in Southeast Asia, including an overview of recently published studies, and conclude by exploring opportunities for targeted deployment of EBRM strategies.