- Beneficial organism
agricultureand gardening, a beneficial organism is any organismthat benefits the growing process, including insects, arachnids, other animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. Benefits include pest control, pollination, and maintenance of soil health. The opposite of beneficial organisms are pests, which are organisms deemed detrimental to the growing process.
Beneficial or pest
The distinction between "beneficial" and "pest" is arbitrary, subjectively determined by examining the effect of a particular organism in a specific growing situation.
*Beneficial insects are probably the most common reference. These are insects that are predators of pest insects, also,
pollinators, such as bees, that are an integral part of the growth cycle of many crops.
soilmicroorganisms are responsible for nutrient recycling (for one, through decomposing plant residues) and other soil building and maintaining activities.Mixed culture of beneficial microorganisms such as photosynthetic bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas sp) lactic acid bacteria (lactobacillus sp.), yeast (saccharomyces sp.) and fermenting fungi (Higa and Wididana, 1991; Higa and Parr, 1994) can positively improve the soil fertility as well as plant productivity.Productive Microbes as a effecive alternative tool for manipulation and managing the overall microbial ecology of complex and divese systems.
Birds and other animals may by their actions improve conditions in various growing situations, and in such cases are also beneficials.
*Plants that perform positive functions can also be considered beneficials (
companion plantingis one technique based on principle of beneficial plants).
Increasingly certain species of insects are managed and used to intervene where natural pollination or biological control is insufficient, usually due to human disturbance of the balance of nature.
In agriculture, controversy surrounds the concept of beneficial insects. Much of this has to do with the effect of
agrichemicals, like insecticides, herbicidesand large quantities of synthetic fertilizers, on what are considered beneficials. Citing the reduction or elimination of various organisms as a side effect of agrichemical-based farming, some argue that critical damage is being done to the ecosystem, to the point where conventional agriculture is unsustainable. For example, if bee populations are reduced by insecticides aimed at other pests, pollination is inhibited and crops don't appear. If soil microorganisms are killed off, natural soil regeneration is inhibited, and reliance on mechanical and chemical inputs to keep the soil viable is increased. The longer term impact of these conditions has not been determined. Commercial ventures currently exist to provide pollinators and biological pest control.
Integrated Pest Management
* http://www.pollinator.info/beneficials/beneficial.htm - beneficial insect information and vendors.
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