Insect biodiversity in the Netherlands is declining. At the same time, pest insects such as the oak processionary caterpillar and the box tree moth are causing problems. Both of these problems require solutions. And this, in turn, requires knowledge. Two on-campus residents, Aeres Hogeschool Wageningen [Aeres University of Applied Sciences] and the Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO-KNAW) [Netherlands Institute of Ecology],
plan to join forces so that they can kill two birds with one stone.
Jetske de Boer has been lecturing at the Aeres University of Applied Sciences and the NIOO since May. During her Ecological Wise: Insects & Society lectureship, she has been collaborating with companies and nature organisations to find ecological solutions for restoring the biodiversity of insects in the Netherlands and for minimising the inconvenience that has been caused by pest insects. In an article on the Aeres University of Applied Sciences website, she explains the principle behind the lectureship: “By promoting biodiversity, the chances of the pest insects doing too much damage will be minimised. And ecological control of pest insects can lead to an increase in biodiversity,” she summarises.
Research enriches education
The idea is that the ecological solutions that the lectureship is working on will consequently become firmly embedded in the Aeres University of Applied Sciences’ curriculum and in the environmental-based subjects that are being offered at the vocational secondary school and intermediate vocational levels of education. In the article on the aereshogeschool.nl website, De Boer explains that the NIOO is not only conducting systematic research into the natural enemies of pest insects - birds, insects and micro-organisms - but that the institute is also investigating how vegetation management can boost biodiversity among insects.
The Aeres University of Applied Sciences plans to use the acquired knowledge to enrich its curriculum and to educate ‘ecologically intelligent professionals’.
Read the full article about the new lectureship on aereshogeschool.nl.