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Identifying cultural, climatic and temporal factors influencing Striga asiatica abundance within rice--maize systems in mid-west Madagascar
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  • Donald Scott,
  • Julie Scholes,
  • Meva Randrianjafizanaka,
  • Patrice Autfray,
  • Jean Randriamampianina,
  • Rob Freckleton
Donald Scott
The University of Sheffield
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Julie Scholes
The University of Sheffield
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Meva Randrianjafizanaka
University of Antananarivo
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Patrice Autfray
CIRAD Languedoc-Roussillon
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Jean Randriamampianina
FOFIFA
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Rob Freckleton
University of Sheffield
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Abstract

The parasitic weed genus Striga causes huge losses to crop production in sub-Saharan Africa, estimated to be in excess of $7 billion per year, affecting subsistence farmers who frequently lack access to novel technologies proposed for control. Effective Striga management therefore requires the development of strategies utilising existing cultural and management practices. We report a multi-year, landscape-scale monitoring project for Striga asiatica in the mid-west of Madagascar, undertaken over 2019-2020 with the aims of examining cultural, climatic and edaphic factors currently driving abundance and distribution. Long-distance transects were established across the middle-west region of Madagascar, over which Striga asiatica abundance in fields was estimated. Analysis of the data highlights the importance of crop variety and legumes in driving Striga density. Moreover, the dataset revealed significant effect of precipitation seasonality, mean temperature and altitude in determining abundance. A composite management index indicated the effect of a range of cultural practices on changes in Striga abundance. The findings support the assertion that single measures are not sufficient for the effective, long-term management of Striga. Furthermore, the composite score has potential as a significant guide of ISM control beyond the geographic range of this study.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

23 Jun 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
23 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
23 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
24 Jun 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
20 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
26 Jul 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
11 Aug 20211st Revision Received
12 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
12 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
12 Aug 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Accept