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Title: Implementing principles of the integrated control concept 50 years later – current challenges in IPM for arthropod pests

item Castle, Steven
item GOODELL, P - University Of California
item PALUMBO, J - University Of California

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/20/2009
Publication Date: 11/3/2009
Citation: Castle, S.J., Goodell, P.B., Palumbo, J.C. 2009. Implementing principles of the integrated control concept 50 years later – current challenges in IPM for arthropod pests. Pest Management Science.

Interpretive Summary: Integrated pest management (IPM) has developed over the past 50 years, tracing its origins to the seminal publication ‘The Integrated Control Concept’ by V.M. Stern et al. The principals of modern IPM were established in this historic publication which continues to provide essential guidance to IPM practitioners of today. However, various forces from the field as well as the marketplace preclude the practice of IPM in a manner true to the principles of the integrated control concept. For example, restrictions on which insecticides can be used in a crop have at times been imposed not by regulatory authorities in the country of origin, but rather by limits imposed by foreign countries to which the crop is destined. Such regulations can result in substandard IPM if the choice of chemical treatments is limited by the absence of maximum residue levels (MRLs) for particular compounds. Another problem for IPM with an international component is the movement of pest species from one geographical region to another. With increasing globalization, invasive species will continue to create significant problems that are likely to present unique challenges for agricultural production and IPM in the future. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be to maintain a sufficiently large and well-trained cadre of pest managers that are capable of knowledgeably responding to new challenges. A continuing decline in progressive IPM programs conceived and developed in the university may result in less guidance from university researchers and extension agents and lead to greater dependence on private consulting firms. The risk here is that the potential is increased for greater emphasis to be placed on conservative approaches that depend more on pesticides as a means to achieve certainty in pest control outcomes.

Technical Abstract: The 1959 publication of the article ‘The Integrated Control Concept’ by Stern and colleagues established a new philosophical framework for pest management that eventually provided a foundation for IPM to develop. Considered within the context of pest control approaches 50 years ago, the integrated control concept radically departed from the undisciplined and at times unrestrained use of pesticides for controlling pest populations. It was through the development of dual theoretical constructs, economic injury level (EIL) and economic threshold (ET), that Stern et al. devised a pragmatic and sensible means of integrating chemical and biological control. By combining a theoretical basis of insect management, represented by EIL and ET, with a realistic view of pest populations as potentially destructive agents of crops and ultimately grower livelihoods, Stern and colleagues formalized the integrated control concept into a robust theory of pest management that continues to serve modern IPM in both theory and practice. However, there are numerous challenges ahead for IPM, some originating in the field where IPM is implemented, others arising from the marketplace where consumer expectations ultimately dictate grower options. Advances in biotechnology and pesticide discovery will improve the tool set available to pest managers, but implementation will required a knowledgeable and well-trained workforce that is presently threatened by a diminished commitment to agriculture in land grant universities in the USA and elsewhere.