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Chapter 5 - IPM as applied ecology: the biological precepts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2010

Edward B. Radcliffe
University of Minnesota
William D. Hutchison
University of Minnesota
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Any insect (or other) pest exists within an ecosystem, consisting of the surrounding biological and physical environment with which it interacts. The interactions between a pest population and its ecosystem are highly complex, and in many cases several pests with different biologies need to be simultaneously managed on a single crop. Ecological issues are exacerbated as the scale of management increases. On a typical farm in midwestern USA we might find fields producing maize (corn), soybeans, hay and perhaps small grains or canola, plus several species of vegetables in a family garden, several kinds of livestock and poultry, stored feed and seed, landscaping plantings, weeds, wildlife and the farmer and his/her household, any and all of which might harbor populations of one or more pests. The farm ecosystem occurs in a matrix of surrounding systems each with its own communities including pests. Ecological processes within surrounding habitats influence events within adjacent areas. In our efforts to maintain high yields and maximize profits, we often oversimplify and override ecosystem processes and unknowingly disrupt whatever naturally occurring pest population regulation there may be. Kogan (1995) and others have noted that even successful IPM programs may pay little heed to the complexity and unpredictability of ecological processes. Our pest management efforts therefore are often disruptive of ecosystem functions. In order to develop more ecologically based IPM systems we need greater understanding of ecological processes. The present chapter introduces some of these fundamental ecological processes as they impact pest populations.

Integrated Pest Management
Concepts, Tactics, Strategies and Case Studies
, pp. 51 - 61
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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