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The interest to shift pest management strategies from the intensive use of agrochemicals to more sustainable and ecologically friendly practices has increased in recent years. One alternative to conventional farming systems is the implementation of diversification practices that increase diversity inand aroundthe field to increase the incidence of natural enemies, reduce pest pressure and enhance crop production. In this review we illustrate the theoretical framework on which diversification practices are based and contrast it with the empirical evidence. The detailed review of 62 original studies published in the last ten years, shows that diversification practices (a) enhance natural enemies in 52%, (b) reduce pest pressure in 53% and (c) increase yield in only 32% of the cases where this was examined. We discuss these results on the basis of the reviewed studies providing key elements that should be taken into account to design diversification practices that can be implemented as competitive pest management strategies that cover the farmers’ needs, reducing the intensive use of agrochemicals.

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