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Spatial distribution of Sahlbergella singularis Hagl. (Hemiptera: Miridae) populations and associated damage in unshaded young cocoa-based agroforestry systems in Cameroon

Mahob R.J., Babin R., Ten Hoopen G.M., Dibog L., Sounigo O., Bagny-Beilhe L., Amang a Mbang J., Bourgoing R., Nyassé S., Cilas C.. 2012. In : COPAL. 17th Conférence Internationale sur la Recherche Cacaoyère, Yaounde, Cameroun, 15 - 20 Octobre 2012. s.l. : s.n., 5 p.. Conférence Internationale sur la Recherche Cacaoyère. 17, 2012-10-15/2012-10-20, Yaoundé (Cameroun).

The aim of this study was to analyze the spatial distribution of S. singularis populations and associated damage in young not yet shaded cocoa-based agroforestry systems. The study was carried out in six 4 years-old cocoa plantations located in the Centre region of Cameroon. Three different specialized models were used for analysis: the Taylor's power law, the binomial negative distribution and semi-variograms. The populations of S. singularis were strongly aggregated in the studied plantations. Recent damage, namely feeding lesions on flushes and pods, was also relatively aggregated yet less clearly than mirid populations. In contrast, older damage, namely cankers on trunks and branches, was more regularly distributed, although some zones of the cacao plantations were more damaged than others. These results provide information about the history of mirid infestations in these young and unshaded plantations, and suggest that, if mirid populations are usually aggregated, infestation areas vary over space and time, leading to relatively uniform cumulated damage. However, the presence of higher infestations in some areas of the cocoa plantations could indicate that there are zones that offer better ecological conditions (in the form of habitat and/or food) to mirids. Our study contributes to the understanding of the spatial distribution of S. singularis populations and its damage in young cocoa plantations, and these should be taken into consideration for integrated pest management (IPM) strategies against S. singularis, especially in unshaded cocoa plantations.

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