Plant pests can reduce both yield and quality of the harvested crop. Efficient plant protection is a prerequisite for sustainable crop production.
Sustainable Pest Management is one of the research areas in which the Department of Agroecology is particularly strong and from which results are delivered in line with national and global societal challenges and goals. On the European level the department is among the leaders in the field of sustainable pest management and has research activities in all disciplines of plant protection research.
Since the 1950’s plant protection has to a certain extent been synonymous with pesticides. However, an increased focus on the undesired environmental and health effects of pesticides as well as a need to achieve a more sustainable crop production means there is a growing need to develop plant protection strategies that are based on agroecological principles and include biological and other non-chemical methods.
The efforts in the area of sustainable pest management are carried out across the six research sections in the department. We draw on the core competencies in biology and regulation of pests in agricultural and horticultural crops, biological control, the fate of pesticides in the environment, the effects of natural chemical substances in agricultural crops, decision support systems, crop quality, crop nutrition physiology, life cycle analyses, and farmer behaviour with regard to crop protection.
Our researchers lead and take part in national and international research projects and contribute to the department's research-based public sector consultancy with regard to e.g. crop protection, pesticides and genetically modified crops. There is also a strong focus on dissemination of results and knowledge to farmers and their advisors as well as to the general public. The researchers carry out research-based teaching in the bachelor and master programmes Agrobiology and Agro-Environmental Management at Aarhus University and we also offer an attractive environment for PhD students. We have a focus on technology transfer and close collaboration with the industry.
The department has unique research facilities for plant protection research, including laboratories, climate chambers, greenhouses, semi-field facilities, climate stations, fields and beehives.
The Global Rust Reference Center is located at AU Flakkebjerg and contains quarantine facilities for the handling of rust fungi.