background in decision theory, risk evaluation, ethics, and economics to be able to handle pest-control problems in the commercial world. Many of the decisions associated with pest control are subject to public choice and public debate. To obtain rational and efficient outcomes, it is essential that scientists be able to communicate with the public in a clear and nontechnical manner about the tradeoffs associated with alternative pest-control issues.
All citizens should be familiar with the basic principles of applied biology and risk evaluation, which can be provided as part of basic education. The general public, including children from kindergarten to 12th grade, should be educated about basic principles of environmental risk and of pest and disease control.
Recommendation 5. The public sector must act on its responsibility to provide quality education to ensure well-informed decision-making in both the private and public sectors.
This effort encompasses efforts in the agricultural sector, in the academic sector, and in the public sector at large.
Recommendation 5a. In the agricultural sector, a transition should be made toward principle-based (as opposed to product-based) decision-making. The transition should be encouraged throughout the continuum from basic to implementation research in universities, in extension, in the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and among producers.
Formulaic approaches to pest problems that are aimed at yield maximization rather than at sustainability approaches (product-based decision-making) have contributed to many of the problems plaguing agriculture. A sound grasp of fundamental principles should provide decision-makers with the flexibility needed to select from a menu of alternatives and to tailor practices to particular production systems
Recommendation 5b. Land-grant universities should emphasize systems-based interdisciplinary research and teaching and foster instruction in applied biology and risk evaluation for nonscientists.
There is a need to educate legislators and the general public about ecologically based pest management in research and in practice. Investment in increasing K–12 exposure to concepts of risk evaluation, foodagriculture, and general biology can also have enormous benefits in creating a more knowledgeable and educated electorate.