UC IPM Online

Annual Reports

1996Letter from the Director

The "Integration" in IPM

Photo of Frank Zalom Integrated pest management is both a strategy and a philosophy for addressing potential pest problems. It is not a specific control tactic, although specific IPM-compatible tools to address key pest problems are often necessary elements of IPM systems. IPM requires an understanding of the ecology and economics of the production system being impacted by a pest species, as well as an understanding of the biology of the pest species itself. Nonchemical control approaches have been studied and used for many years, but the concept coalesced in the 1950s with the notion of "integrated control" which illustrated that using insecticides wisely so as to preserve naturally occurring biological control agents was a better long-term strategy than relying on pesticides alone. IPM expanded upon this concept of integration to include other pest control approaches in producing ecologically and economically based production systems.

It is assumed that a better understanding of IPM together with knowledge of site-specific crop and pest status will allow growers and others who are at risk of pest damage to make better pesticide use decisions. As U.S. Congressman Vic Fazio, long a proponent of IPM, recently stated, "Integrated pest management research means we can use farm pesticides more sparingly because we will better know when and how to apply them most effectively." The successful application of IPM requires a mechanism for extending research-based knowledge. UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists play an important role both in developing applications of IPM in California's diverse geographic regions and in extending this knowledge to the private sector. In California, production consultants play a key role in monitoring crop and pest status in many agricultural and landscape situations, and can be a major factor in IPM use in the state. Integration of IPM development at the University with implementation in the private sector is crucial.

IPM is not "insect pest management," but necessarily encompasses the management of weed, pathogen, nematode, and vertebrate "pests" within an integrated production system framework. All of these pests face similar issues in terms of their damage potential, development of resistance to pesticides, and changing pesticide regulations brought about by possible environmental and health risks. The research approaches and possible control tactics may differ by discipline, but IPM strategies apply to all. Integration of pest disciplines and of pest disciplines with production and social disciplines is vital to the development of IPM systems.

The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Project was initiated in 1979, not only to develop IPM strategies and integrate pest control approaches, but to promote integration of IPM programs across campuses, between disciplines and academic departments, between the University and agencies, and between the University and the private sector. To accomplish this, the Statewide IPM Project continues to maintain vigorous research and outreach programs which, through its competitive grants programs, regional and area IPM advisors, publications, educational programs, databases, and most recently its World Wide Web site, allows the integration of many information resources from the program. UC's Pesticide Education Program (Pesticide Applicator Training and Farmworker Pesticide Safety Training) was combined with the Statewide IPM Project in 1988, as we believe better pesticide use decisions, which includes knowledge of safe pesticide handling and use as well as reduced use, can positively impact worker exposure. This integration is fairly unique nationally.

The IPM Project has taken the "integration" in IPM seriously. Over the years it has promoted research workgroups, educational materials, and programs which include multiple campuses and disciplines. It has also included research and extension staff, government agencies, and the private sector in its planning processes, and has widely participated in the processes of other units and organizations. Only through such integration can a complex philosophy like IPM become widely understood and accepted.


Frank G. Zalom, Director
UC Statewide IPM Project

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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