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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge


My main research interest is sustainable development of agricultural systems, with focus on insect communities. I work on understory management of oil palm plantations on Sumatra, Indonesia. Palm oil plays an important role for food security in developing countries. It is an important cooking oil and is the most productive vegetable oil crop world wide, meaning that higher yield can be achieved per hectare in this system compared to others. Nevertheless, the natural balance of the oil palm plantations have been highly disturbed for many years, partly due to use of pesticides and herbicides. This use is now decreasing and more and more plantations are aware of the beneficial use of plants to provide nectar and shelter for natural enemies of herbivorous pests. During my PhD I have investigated strategies to increase the beneficial biodiversity, and thereby reducing the use of pesticides, through improved understory management while maintaining the yield. This knowledge is important for a sustainable development of crops to secure food availability.

PhD candidate, Insect Ecology Group
 Julie  Hinsch

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