SETTING THE CONTEXT

EBPM promotes the economic and environmental viability of agroecosystems by using knowledge of interactions between crops, pests, and naturally occurring biocontrol organisms to modify cropping systems in ways that reduce damage associated with pests. Coexisting crops, herbivores, predators, pathogens, weeds, and other organisms interact with one another and respond to their environment. This web of interrelated interactions also can confer stability on the system; while a pest population increases and decreases, it is subject to the checks and balances imposed by populations of the other organisms. Thus, future pest management strategies will be built upon an improved understanding of natural biological interactions that suppress pest populations, as well as identification of where the use of supplemental inputs and cultural practices disturb the managed ecosystem and how pest populations develop and adapt to these disturbances. Manipulation of these natural processes into practical and profitable strategies is key to development of ecologically based pest management.

The vision is very similar to the one that has long been articulated for IPM. Achieving the vision of ecological or integrated pest management will depend upon translation of ecological knowledge into practical and profitable strategies for managing pests in farming systems. The chapters that follow present author's perspectives on the sociological, economic, and ecological context for ecological pest management.



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