Palm production faces serious challenges ranging from diseases to damage by insect pests, all of which may reduce productivity by as much as 30%. A number of disorders of unknown aetiology but associated with insects are now recognised. Management practices that ensure the sustainability of palm production systems require a sound understanding of the interactions between biological systems and palms. This paper discusses insect pests that attack palms, pathogens the insects vector as well as other disorders that are associated with these pests. We re-examine the disease aetiologies and procedures that have been used to understand causality. Pest management approaches such as cultural and biological control are discussed.
Keywords: aetiology; Arecaceae; diagnosis; pathosystems; pest management