Ecologically Based Integrated Pest Management
Much has been learned over the past decade about implementing effective IPM programmes in both developed and developing countries. While many pests (insects, weeds, diseases, etc.) are global, factors such as agroecological, cultural, economic and institutional differences dictate location-specific, participatory IPM research. However, in recent past more emphasis has been on ecologically based approaches and there is earnest need to implement them. IPM programmes that include use of natural, host-specific microbial agents have been found effective, for instance, in Indonesia, India, and elsewhere in substituting for chemical pesticides when means for their multiplication and dissemination are appropriately developed. A critical issue with many biocontrol tools is reducing barriers to their commercialization. Similarly, host plant resistance is a fundamental component in most IPM programmes. Fortunately, many breeding programmes in various research institutions and, in some cases, the private sector are producing material that can be integrated into IPM programmes. The possibility of materials being developed through genetic engineering enhances the potential for having host plant resistance as a key IPM strategy. What is required in an ecologically based IPM (EBIPM) today is to look into the ecological concepts in relation to the incorporation of biotechnology wherever appropriate and analyse the policy, regulatory and socio-cultural factors influencing IPM adoption and impacts. Use of systems modelling along with a major effort to design and implement a technology transfer plan to achieve broad adoption of IPM practices and strategies is necessary. Standardized targets, indicators and benchmarks, especially those related to widespread adoption and impact of ecologically based IPM technologies and systems; need to be used as measures of programme accomplishments. For reaching the conclusive goals it is important to know what has been achieved in terms of EBIPM systems, so far and what needs to be done in the future. We have tried to compile the major aspects of EBIPM in this volume through 18 chapters emphasizing on the ecology/ecological theory, objectives of IPM programmes, economic aspects, tactics and examples of programme delivery. Although we have tried to concentrate on the issues due to limited resources available for IPM, the prospects are bright as discussed in Chapter 1. Examples of emerging technologies and issues include biotechnology, precision agriculture and agroecology. The rapidly increasing computer capacity globally should facilitate the use of systems approach deployment of improved IPM strategies and tactics with ecological concepts in continuous crop management systems. Before going into the details of systems it is imperative to know xiabout the ecology of different pests and Chapters 2 and 3 have comprehensively dealt with these aspects using agriculture weeds and plant pathogens as the base examples. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the concept of ecological theory emphasizing on the role of cover crops and intercropping using the ecological concepts. As the environment is one of the major components of EBIPM, Chapter 6 deals with the ecological effects of chemical control with an environmental perspective and subsequently social impacts have been comprehensively discussed in Chapter 7. Economics plays a major role in the success of ecologically based pest management programmes. A wide variety of economic analyses of pest management practices and policies have been conducted since the first assessment of economic thresholds more than 40 years ago. Many of the analyses have involved projections of profitability, risk, health and environmental effects, returns to research and implications for public policies affecting pest management decisions. Especially prevalent have been simple per acre budget analyses of IPM practices and analyses of factors influencing IPM adoption. Fewer analyses have addressed aggregate income and environmental/health impacts, and early dynamic modelling of crop–pest–predator interactions have been slow to develop into routine analyses. Dynamic analyses are especially important for assessing pesticide resistance implications of public policies. All these aspects have been discussed comprehensively in Chapters 8 and 9. Various tactics used in IPM programmes are very important vis-à-vis the ecological considerations and Chapters 10–13 discuss the concept in detail.