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Potato is South America's greatest gift to world agriculture and human nutrition (Graves, 2001). A dietary staple of indigenous Andean peoples for eight millennia, potato was unknown to the rest of the world before the mid sixteenth century. Today, potato is the world's fourth most important food crop, after maize, wheat and rice, and is grown on a significant scale in more than 130 countries on six continents with annual tuber production exceeding 320 million tonnes (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2007). In recognition of potato's potential to provide food security and eradicate poverty, 2008 has been proclaimed International Year of the Potato.
In most production systems, potato is clonally propagated from “seed” tubers. Clonal propagation offers agronomic and genetic advantages, e.g. vigorous early growth, higher yields and consistent expression of desirable traits. More than 10% of world potato production is used to provide “seed tubers” for planting the next production season. Seed potato tubers can be infected with a wide range of pests and pathogens which may affect growth of the crop and health of progeny tubers. Thus, access to high-quality, disease-free seed potatoes has been described as “the single most important integrated pest management practice available to potato growers” (Gutbrod & Mosley, 2001). Seed potato lots can be downgraded or rejected for recertification for myriad causes from “varietal mix” to herbicide injury. However, aphid-transmitted, tuber-borne potato viruses far exceed all others.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management. It uses natural predators, pest-resistant plants, and other methods to preserve a healthy environment in an effort to decrease reliance on harmful pesticides. Featuring forty chapters written by leading experts, this textbook covers a broad and comprehensive range of topics in integrated pest management, focused primarily on theory and concepts. It is complemented by two award winning websites, which are regularly updated and emphasize specific IPM tactics, their application, and IPM case studies:Radcliffe's IPM World Textbook - http://ipmworld.umn.eduVegEdge – www.vegedge.umn.eduThe two products are fully cross-referenced and form a unique and highly valuable resource. Written with an international audience in mind, this text is suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on Integrated Pest Management, Insect or Arthropod Pest Management. It is also a valuable resource for researchers, extension specialists and IPM practitioners worldwide.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been taught in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota since 1966. Over the years, we've used many different textbooks for this course, supplementing these with primary references and more recently with web resources. We've never lacked for quality information resources to use in teaching our course, especially so in recent years, but we've never felt satisfied that any one textbook provided the breath of coverage of all the IPM related topics we think need to be included in a university-level course. We recognized that our expectations might be unrealistic since such broad coverage could make for a book of such size and cost that it wouldn't be appropriate to adopt as a required textbook.
We attempted to overcome these challenges by developing our own online textbook, Radcliffe's IPM World Textbook, http://ipmworld.umn.edu. Our concept for creating this website was that we'd solicit content from a cadre of internationally recognized experts with the goal eventually of a comprehensive online IPM resource having “chapters” covering all aspects of IPM. Our primary objectives in creating this website were to provide (1) a venue for easily maintaining and updating “state of the art” information from the world's leading experts on all aspects of IPM, and (2) a resource economically deliverable anywhere in the world that could be freely downloaded for use by students, teachers and IPM practitioners.