Biological control against the chestnut gall wasp: an anthropological and biological approach
Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Biological control is an alternative to pesticides and GMOs to control pest insect outbreaks. As any other technology, is comprises environmental risks. We applied and developed environmental risk assessment procedures for improved biosecurity in the implementation of biological control in Switzerland and Europe. Our model system is the invasive chestnut gall wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus and its biological control agent, Torymus sinensis, an exotic parasitoid. This model system highlights the importance of sound biology knowledge and the need to study economical, legal as well as societal aspects for a comprehensive cost-risk-benefit analysis of the situation. The way the public perceives the problem, the role of actors such as regulators, scientist or chestnut growers in the construction of the problem may influence its outcome. Being able to throw biological as well as social aspects of the problem into the balance should help regulators in their decision process, and is a step in the direction of more participatory processes and attitudes in the administration of science.