While it can be more broadly and more specifically defined, we're using agroecology here to refer to the ways in which nature, or more specifically native organisms, interact with agricultural production. Clearly, pest damage can be part of that and needs to be taken into account. Pests have generally been quite thoroughly researched. Less researched, but increasingly becoming a focus, are beneficial organisms: the pollinators, the pest parasites, and the pest predators. Our particular interest, reflecting our general focus landscape patterns, is on how semi-wild areas around farms (including orchards) interact with the production of those enterprises.
In 2009, we looked at the ebb and flow of insects in and around Hawthorne Valley Farm's main gardens; our goal was to start getting a feel for distribution and seasonal dynamics. We prepared a web page illustrating those results.
In 2010, we worked on 19 different farms around the County, exploring the interaction of landscape, soils and agriculturally-relevant insects. Some of that work is summarized in this 2012 report.
In 2014, we are undertaking a pilot project to look at some of these interactions in and around Hudson Valley apple orchards; as summarized results from that work become available, we will post them.
Interesting academic pages:
(each of these professors is working, in very detailed ways, on themes related to our own and kindly posts free digital versions of their articles; suggested additions are welcome)