Insects, pests and monoculture


Why insect pests love monocultures, and how plant diversity could change that

For all Science-fanatic, world-hunger apologetic supporting chemical mono-culture farming.

And same mono-culture is forced on humans as there is wave of globalization going on killing native diversity. Once you start living synthetic global life-style, you are prone to insects and pests, ending life earlier than expected.

We are hitting own legs with axe!

insect pest


Diversity as Natural Pesticide

The problem with monocultures

The problem with monocultures, Wetzel said, is if an insect likes the crop, that insect has a large food supply to draw from all in one place. Conversely, a field containing a variety of plants does not offer a large block of food for the insect, so it will not get the nutrients it needs to survive and thrive.

“A monoculture is like a buffet for plant-eating insects where every dish is delicious,” Wetzel said. “A variable crop is like a buffet where every other dish is nasty.”

Variability in plant nutrients reduces insect herbivore performance

Left to its own defenses, a farm field growing a variety of plants tends to attract fewer insect pests than a field growing just one type of crop. While scientists and farmers have noted that difference for years, the reasons behind it have been poorly understood.

A study led by the University of California, Davis, and published Oct. 12 in the journal Nature explains that much of the discrepancy may have to do with the nutritional needs of insects. Returning plant diversity to farmland could be a key step toward sustainable pest control.

“Insects have a perfect nutrient level that they really like,” said lead author William Wetzel, a doctoral student in Population Biology at UC Davis at the time of the study and currently an assistant professor at Michigan State University. “When it’s too high or too low, they do poorly.”


The performance and population dynamics of insect herbivores depend on the nutritive and defensive traits of their host plants1. The literature on plant–herbivore interactions focuses on plant trait mean values234, but recent studies showing the importance of plant genetic diversity for herbivores suggest that plant trait variance may be equally important56. The consequences of plant trait variance for herbivore performance, however, have been largely overlooked. Here we report an extensive assessment of the effects of within-population plant trait variance on herbivore performance using 457 performance datasets from 53 species of insect herbivores. We show that variance in plant nutritive traits substantially reduces mean herbivore performance via non-linear averaging of performance relationships that were overwhelmingly concave down. By contrast, relationships between herbivore performance and plant defence levels were typically linear, with variance in plant defence not affecting herbivore performance via non-linear averaging. Our results demonstrate that plants contribute to the suppression of herbivore populations through variable nutrient levels, not just by having low average quality as is typically thought. We propose that this phenomenon could play a key role in the suppression of herbivore populations in natural systems, and that increased nutrient heterogeneity within agricultural crops could contribute to the sustainable control of insect pests in agroecosystems.

Myth Breaker : Agriculture and Women in Ancient India



Two myths

1) Females were never educated in ancient India
2) Best farming is natural farming – no ploughing, no soil preparation

There is often common rhetoric in armchair intellectuals that condition of females in ancient India were not good. There was male-dominated society. Bla bla bla….

Here is one example from Bengal to break the myth.

Khana (Bengali: খনা, pron. khawnaa) was an Indian poet and legendary astrologer, who composed in the medieval Bengali language between the ninth and 12th centuries AD. She is associated with the village Deuli, in Barasat district, West Bengal.
Her poetry, known as khanAr bachan (or vachan) (খনার বচন) (meaning “khana’s words”), among the earliest compositions in Bengali literature, is known for its agricultural themes.

One of her aphorism says:

” For the successful cultivation of cotton one has to plough the land 16 times, for radish 8 times, for paddy 4 times and for betel nil.”

Cotton plant has an elaborate root-system, radish is a herb, paddy is a surface feeder, and betel is a climber that produces numerous adventitious aerial roots.

So, a female agricultural scientist teaches many generations to come agriculture in effortless, shareable, copyright-free form of wisdom i.e. aphorisms and songs.

First myth is wrong.
Second is not agriculture but lethargy driven by deluded sentiments towards mother nature.

Food Import : Damage to local environment



It is not just greed-focused agriculture designed to grow only export quality food that damages environment, importing food also damages environment!

Urge for exotic food is not only havoc for your GUT but also outside environment. In Ayurveda, it is always suggested that one should rely on local resources for food, medicines and any life-routine habits. Ayurveda is a section of Veda and Veda always talks about, not only physical plane but also mental and adhyatmik plane. So when Ayurveda prescribes local resources, it is not just about our food! It is also about external environment and its direct impact on our mind and prana!

Thanks to India’s surrender to WTO and global food mafia companies, we now not only import as a compulsion but just for the sake of trade! We waste our agriculture land and water resources for the food that is being exported. Meanwhile, we import cheap food from Africa!

Food shouldn’t be treated like commodity. It is life-line, has to be decentralized and locally-focused.

Global agricultural trade is dubious setup.


Importing food damages domestic environment

Soybean trade offers but one example of the unexpected environmental impacts of global food trade – and a heads up that negotiations of trade agreements need complete information, the paper notes. For example, once-upon-a-time cornfields in Mexico and South America now grow vegetables, and demand more nitrogen inputs, thanks to influxes of cheap American corn. And nitrogen isn’t the only change. Crop decisions driven by global markets also can place increased demands on water supplies.

“This study underscores the need to pay attention to both sides of international trade not rely on conventional wisdom,” Liu said. “The framework of telecoupling – a new integrated way to study human and natural interactions over distances – shows us unexpected outcomes that can stand in the way of sustain

“This research demonstrates a surprising environmental impact of global agricultural trade,” says Betsy Von Holle, a director of the National Science Foundation’s Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program, which funded the study. “If the importing country switches from a more sustainable crop, such as soybeans, to one that needs more water and nutrients, such as corn, the nitrogen pollution that results can harm the environment of the importing country.”

Pesticide vs Pest-aside : Real cause of pest/pathogens


Are bacteria responsible for our illness?

Are viruses responsible for our illness?

Are pest destroying crops?


No. They are Mother nature’s most trusted messengers. They appears only when we create situations for them in our body or in our local environment by our activities.

Nature has different types of creatures, some with long life and some with very short life. Some with micro body and some with giant body combination of trillions and more micro bodies. Formation of them depends upon the specific combination of environmental factors.

So when you are afflicted by the specific bacteria or virus, try to find root change in the environment. And this physical changes are manifestation of more subtle प्राण. Which action, activity or habit caused it. Sometimes it is beyond our control. Sheer nature’s work. Like mass epidemic.


Insects 2


Same is true for growing food.

Understand this comment shared by Gyan Mitra ji on Jagannath Chatterjeeji’s post to realize it.

“This is the PEST niche graph, part of the I.I.T. Bombay PhD thesis 1996 of Dr. Uday S. Bhawalkar, a chemical engineer from the same institute 1973 batch. He is the first person to say that a PEST has an ecological role, and is a Policeman/woman, Inspector and Regulator too. The fire brigade visits only when there is a fire. The same logic applies for PESTS.This graph is rudimentary, and other graphs followed later, which will also be posted. Contrary to popular belief, these pests are not simply hanging around waiting to commit mayhem. They appear only when there is a need by multiplying, else remain very very few. For example, if a PEST appears in a field and starts chewing up the leaves, it simply means that there is nutrient in the leaves, in a related Carbon to Nitrogen ration relating to that particular pest. Industry gets rid of the PEST with poison / pesticide. But this does not address the root cause viz nutrient for the PEST. Eating such food is unsafe because the nutrient for the PEST is toxic for human consumption. Hence, can you see that PESTS also are quality control mechanism of Nature ? Forget pesticide, even if you were able to physically remove the PESTS by hand, its still no good. Therefore, even ‘organic pest control’ is not O.K. Cost effective Eco Technology if retrofitted into the well / bore well takes care of such toxicity and then the food crops grow without pests. Don’t forget that poor air quality causes acid rain which leaches heavy metals from rocks that gets into the crop. The trace heavy metals break down through a ‘ nature chemistry ‘ and invite PESTS. If you can understand what I have written, you will also be able to develop an argument against G.M. crops. I just saw a BBC film speaking for GM and the main goal is stated to produce food for expected 15 Billion people in the future. What is not discussed is that the food is toxic to human homeostasis. When pest free agriculture is possible even without the use of chemical fertilisers, to produce quality food ( one eats less ) which also has natural antidotes to remedy prevailing regional natural pollution, the modern goal of producing poor quality food in quantity without the antidote property is misplaced. Industrial farming is a model created with inputs and active management. There can never be a food shortage because Nature ensures that the food is made available for the life form first. You need to believe this. Also, borewells are bringing up more salts so much more water is needed for irrigation. And then, when the top soil ecology is pristine and appropriate crops are grown, only moisture is needed, NOT water.”

Collapse invitation : Destroy Diversity, Commit Suicide



“How old are you?”
“350 million years. I am oldest among my siblings on Bharat Bhumi”
“And we the development-generation ruined you in less than 100 years?”
“No problem, I am mother.”
“But being mother does not mean you sacrifice yourself for a mad son”
“Madness is the nature of this time called ‘Kaliyuga’ 🙂 You will be trapped again for millions of year in my गर्भ for your madness. After all, you not only ruin me but your future too. Wheels of time crushes all those who come in their way and don’t exactly know how to align life at the center of the wheel (Center of the wheel = Culture of the land, ideals for living life, health regime, mind regime etc).
What is center of your life? Or are you free flowing grain, wanderer by ignorance and crave, ready for getting crushed between wheels of time? Do you have center for life? A theme for this birth. A goal for this birth. A motive aligned to dharma? Selfless passion? If yes, don’t worry. This mother will make sure you survive against all destruction done by fellow mad humans.”

Even a stone is part of eco-system. Over-mining them without any plan to re-use, will kill the ecosystem and all associated benefits.

Modern human equate mother nature with profit. Profit kills diversity. Once the diversity of species is gone, collapse is nearby.


Loss of species destroys ecosystems

An ecosystem provides humans with natural “services”, such as the fertility of the soil, the quality of the groundwater, the production of food, and pollination by insects, which is essential for many fruits. Hence, intact ecosystems are crucial for the survival of all living things. What functional significance therefore does the extinction of species have? Can the global loss of species ultimately lead to the poorer “functioning” of ecosystems? Professor Weisser from the Chair for Terrestrial Ecology at the TUM has summarized the findings of the long-term project “Jena Experiment”, which is managed by the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, since its inception in a 70-page article in the journal “Basic and Applied Ecology”. He was the speaker of the interdisciplinary research consortium up till the year 2015.

“One unique aspect of the Jena Experiment is the fact that we performed our experiments and analyses over 15 years”, explains Prof. Weisser. “Because the influence of biodiversity is only visible after a delay, we were only able to observe certain effects from 2006 or 2007 onwards — i.e. four or five years after the beginning of the project.” If a habitat is destroyed due to human intervention, a species usually does not go extinct immediately, but instead some time later. According to these findings, this extinction then has a delayed effect on the material cycles.

The effects of biodiversity became correspondingly more pronounced over time in the Jena Experiment: In species-rich communities, the positive effects, such as carbon storage in the ground, microbial respiration, or the development of soil fauna only became more pronounced over time. On the other hand, the negative effects of monoculture also only became visible later on. “This means that the negative effects of current species extinctions will only become fully perceptible in a few years”, warns Weisser.


80,000 measurements were taken by interdisciplinary working groups from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. In more than 500 test plots, they planted varying numbers of plant species, from monocultures to mixtures of 60 species. In addition to plants, all other organisms occurring in the ecosystem were also examined — in and above the ground. In addition, soil scientists also investigated the material cycles for carbon, nitrogen, and nitrate, as well as the water cycle over the entire 15-year period.

By doing so, researchers could prove how the diversity of species affected the capacity of the ground to absorb, store, or release water. “No other experiment to date has examined the nutrient cycle with such rigor”, says Prof. Wolfgang W. Wilcke from the Institute of Geoecology at the KIT in Karlsruhe. In the Jena Experiment, it was demonstrated for the first time the extent to which e.g. the nitrogen cycle of a certain piece of land depended on a wide range of factors such as species diversity, microbiological organisms, the water cycle, and plant interaction.

Among other things, the findings led to the following conclusions:

  • High-diversity meadows had a higher productivity than low-diversity meadows over the entire period of the Jena Experiment. Increased cultivation intensity via additional fertilization and more frequent mowing achieved the same effect: When a farmer promotes certain species and fertilizes, he is on average not any more successful than mother nature.
  • The energy of the biomass (bioenergy content) from high-diversity meadows was significantly higher than that from low-diversity meadows, but at the same time similar to that of many of today’s highly subsidized species, such as miscanthus.


  • High-diversity areas achieved better carbon storage.
  • The number of insects and other species was significantly higher.
  • Reciprocal interactions between species such as pollination took place more frequently.
  • Higher-diversity meadows transported surface water into the soil better.
  • High-diversity ecosystems were more stable in the case of disruptions such as droughts or floods than low-diversity ecosystems.

Due to its breadth, the Jena Experiment proves for the very first time that a loss of biodiversity results in negative consequences for many individual components and processes in ecosystems. Hence, the loss of species worldwide not only means that a percentage of the evolutionary legacy of the earth is being irrecoverably lost, and that humans are not fulfilling their duty of care towards other creatures, but will have direct, unpleasant consequences for mankind. Among other things, the loss of species also has an effect on material cycles — which in turn have a direct influence on water supply, the source of all life.

The new spokesperson for the Jena Experiment is Professor Nico Eisenhauer from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig. The expert from the Leipzig University will continue the experiment in order to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the biodiversity effects in greater detail. The founding members of the Jena Experiment were the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, where the scientific coordination is also based, and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena. It received substantial financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Soil Health Card is useless without गौ आधारित खेती (Cow-based farming)



American university proclaims:

“With more than 7 billion microorganisms in the soil, it’s no surprise we still have a lot to learn about them and their impact on the environment. “Consequently, the activity of microorganisms in soil has the potential to alleviate or worsen climate change, so we need to form predictions regarding their activities.”

Do you think without Gau mata, one can achieve this?

Remember, I often share here that

Gau out = Desert In
Desert In = Desert Religion In (Islam/Christianity)

Soil health card may be good way to track soil nutrients but it is useless if you cannot understand value of cow in maintaining soil health. Soil health does not only mean NPK! Or Organic matter. It mean Prana! and only Gau mata can provide Prana!!

Not only carbon cycle, Gau mata has potential to stabilize all natural cycles!! She is medium via which we should embrace primordial prana i.e. Sun


WVU researcher uncovers influence of microorganisms on soil carbon storage

With more than 7 billion microorganisms in the soil, it’s no surprise we still have a lot to learn about them and their impact on the environment. A West Virginia University researcher is uncovering critical information about these tiny organisms under our feet, which although small, can have a huge impact on the environment.

Ember Morrissey, assistant professor of environmental microbiology in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, received a $150,000 grant from National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology’s Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research program, known as EAGER, to increase understanding of the behavior of microorganisms in the soil to provide descriptions of microbial function that currently aren’t available.

Morrissey’s research will lay the groundwork needed to figure out how soil can be managed to address environment-related processes and issues, including global warming and climate change.

Of particular interest for Morrissey and other researchers is the ability to formulate more precise predictions of microorganisms’ carbon cycling, or how they use and create carbon, a key to combatting climate change.

“Soil stores a large fraction of the earth’s carbon – actually more carbon than the atmosphere and biosphere combined,” Morrissey explained. “Microorganisms break down and consume this carbon as they live and grow, converting it into the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

“Consequently, the activity of microorganisms in soil has the potential to alleviate or worsen climate change, so we need to form predictions regarding their activities.”


वर्ण व्यवस्था in Forest : Danger of exotic monocropping



The researchers found that while the effects of local tree species loss were highly variable, the effects of biotic homogenization were almost always detrimental for provisioning of multiple ecosystem services. This means that landscapes containing more dissimilar forests provide more ecosystem services than landscapes where all forest patches were dominated by the same tree species.

It is वर्ण व्यवस्था of trees. When it is maintained, they can sustain each other for eternity. We are no different from them. We used to live in dissimilar congregation. We call it -> “Village”.

For farmers planning for Agro-forestry, I suggest to take care of implementing idea of dissimilar forestry instead of mono-culture forestry of high yielding trees.

Research and News

Researchers find dissimilar forests are vital for delivery of ecosystem services


A team of ecologists from Royal Holloway, University of London has taken part in a large collaborative EU project to find out what the effects of forest tree species diversity are on ecosystem services. These services, which include timber production, carbon storage, and forest resistance to pests and diseases, are crucial to human well-being.

One of the key novel findings of the project published yesterday (March 14) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, is the consistently negative impact a similarity in tree species composition across the landscape (biotic homogenization) has on the ability of forests to deliver multiple ecosystem services.

Forests are becoming dominated by a small number of tree species as a result of species extinctions, tree species selection by forest managers, and invasions or planting of exotic species. This process of biotic homogenization is similar to cultural globalization with the global consumer market becoming dominated by the small number of chains (the so-called McDonald’s Effect).

Researchers from Royal Holloway’s School of Biological Sciences worked collaboratively with 29 other institutions and combined field data from 209 forest plots across six European countries (Germany, Finland, Poland, Romania, Italy and Spain) with computer simulations to study the consequences of both local tree species loss and biotic homogenization on 16 ecosystem functions, including timber production, carbon storage, bird diversity, forest regeneration and resistance to insect and mammalian pests.

The researchers found that while the effects of local tree species loss were highly variable, the effects of biotic homogenization were almost always detrimental for provisioning of multiple ecosystem services. This means that landscapes containing more dissimilar forests provide more ecosystem services than landscapes where all forest patches were dominated by the same tree species. This is because different tree species are needed to provide different services; for example, in Poland, the Norway spruce provides high quality timber whereas hornbeam forests are better at supporting the diversity of attractive plant species in the understorey that may appeal to tourists.


Water management by temples vs Failed bureaucratic green revolution

Post world war-2, western elites created new issue i.e. world hunger. And to solve the problem, they came up with ‘Green Revolution’.
First, the illusory problem and then delusional solution. Hunger was never an issue in localized societies. But without creating this problem, how can you sell the mechanized techniques? 😀
I often discuss case studies of Punjab and MP, traditional wheat lands, to understand disaster we invited in name of green revolution.
Today, I studied Bali.
Decentralized Water management by temples vs Failed disconnected bureaucratic green revolution
In the mid-1970s, a young anthropologist, Steve Lansing, arrived in Indonesia to study the ancient rituals of the water temples on the volcanic slopes of Bali.
John Steven Lansing is one of the only anthropologists to study agricultural practices in Bali. Through extensive research into Balinese culture, he discovered the cosmology behind much of daily life, including the organization of water irrigation systems.
For thousands of years, generations of Balinese farmers have transformed their landscape to enable the growth of irrigated rice. Parallel to the physical system of rice terraces and irrigation, intricate networks of shrines and temples are dedicated to agricultural deities.
Balinese water temples are instrumental, both as religions markers and as aids to agricultural productivity. Traditional Balinese agricultural practices were based on rituals for the Goddess of the Lake, Dewi Danu, one of the two supreme deities of Bali. The top of Mount Batur has a vast freshwater crater lake that is considered a sacred cosmic map, or mandala, of waters.
Water temples organize community groups and maintain ecological productivity. It will take a book long note to describe this fascinating irrigation practice. Do read at sources [1] [2] [3]
The green revolution mania uprooted 1000+ years old efficient system. The Green Revolution was an approach to agriculture that involved the use of science and large-scale government to control productivity via the use of new forms of crops. It had a profound effect on the practical use of water temples in Bali, disrupting the balanced cycles of cultivation.
Temples were brushed off as religious institutions with no constructive role in boosting rice production. This resulted in an ecological crisis. The Green Revolution in Bali began in 1962, when the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) developed a new high-yielding variety of rice called IR-8. They encouraged its use throughout Asia. The Indonesian government was enthusiastic because it was expected to increase rice production and was responsive to chemical fertilizers (Lansing, 1995).
Countless centuries of clearly thought out irrigation schedules, intrinsically bound with Balinese religious cosmology, had coordinated a magnificent balance between water sharing and pest control. This system was undermined and infiltrated by naïve capitalistic policies in a matter of a decade.
The bureaucratic irrigation complex failed because it contradicted the native decentralized system of temple ritual and agriculture in Balinese society. A decentralized planning strategy is beneficial since it tends to favor indirect, non-central government control while empowering local people by giving them command over their project (Ralston, Anderson, and Colson 113). The water temples create a decentralized system in which priests and farmers control the land under a religious hierarchy rather than the central government. Scientists and economic policy makers who designed the Green Revolution did not consider the viewpoint of farmers, the very individuals who were the project’s main beneficiaries.
Along with our own several disasters, it is lesson to learn for Indian agriculture.

Cow Dung, Soil moisture and Rain


Agriculture in India is panchang(पञ्चांग) driven. We plan agriculture activities based on specific tithis. Take for example: Monsoon crop preparation starts very early summer.


अक्षय तृतीया – The day when we start new crop season. It is the day when farmer begins new food cycle for us. Day when farmer community requires our support. It is not just about food, essential rain cycle depends upon how for next 1-2 months we maintain soil moisture. Once the land is ploughed, it is kept open for cows grazing. Free flow of cow urine and dung keep the soil moisture intact.

Keeping land open to the sun for 1-2 months before monsoon along with cow dung and urine based moisture play role in bringing rain to the land as per latest research hints.

Moisture, such as from soil, is one of three ingredients necessary to create rain. Also needed are an upward motion of air from the earth’s surface into cooler parts of the upper atmosphere, which drier soils are good at facilitating, and a source of water vapor.

Maintaining soil moisture with the help of cow dung is not only important for soil fertility but also to attract monsoon rain and future ground-water storage.

Here is the research supporting this timeless methods followed by Indian farmers.



Does Rain Follow the Plow?

There are many factors that play a role in whether or not it rains, and research from the University of Arizona shows that human activity such as cultivating agricultural fields may be one of them.
here are three ingredients necessary to create rain, Zeng said, and moisture – from atmospheric humidity, plants, bodies of water or soil – is one of them. Also needed are an upward motion of air from the earth’s surface into cooler parts of the upper atmosphere, which drier soils are good at facilitating, and a source of water vapor.

Welty and Zeng found that morning soil moisture can affect afternoon rain accumulations over the Southern Great Plains during the warm season and the impact differs based on atmospheric conditions. On days when the wind brings limited moisture to the region, drier soils enhance afternoon rain. But when the wind brings greater moisture to the region, wetter soils increase afternoon rain.

“The dry soils that enhance afternoon rain are acting like conveyor belts for warm air that’s being sent into the upper atmosphere,” Zeng said. “Combine that upward motion with moisture and a water vapor source, and the result is afternoon rain.”

Conversely, when atmospheric conditions are bringing moisture to the region, it acts as a source of water vapor, which, when added to the upward motion of air, produces rain.

Their findings suggest that land surface changes in response to both climate and human activity could be significant.

Zeng, whose research specialties include climate modeling, land-atmosphere-ocean interface processes and hydrometeorology, noted the ideas developed during the study could be further used for “global analysis based on NASA satellite measurements and climate models.”

प्राणवान वसुधा : प्राणवान जीवसृष्टि


Avg mini tractor price = 6 lac + diesel + maintanance
Avg bull price = 1 lac

You get 6 bulls in one tractor price. By rotating them on the field, one can grow gold.


The left side (First picture) voids toxic gases, makes land homogenous in nature and robs fertility of soil. Hence, invites more germs and insects. Gradually, converts fertile land into barren land that farmers/govt sell out to more polluting industries.

The right side (Second picture) is truly right. Ox or horse or your local helping hand, contributes by excreting urine and manure, which maintains soil fertility. Compare to left side machines, they go soft on soil and keeps it in natural form. Does not kill healthy microbes (मरुत) as it does not emit toxic gases. Overall प्राणवान वसुधा -> प्राणवान crop -> प्राणमय जीवसृष्टि.

Only those who has vested interests in keeping Indian villages in dire state, would suggest machine based agriculture.

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