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Title: Perspectives in Ecological Theory and Integrated Pest Management
Author(s): Marcos Kogan and Paul Jepson (eds)
Date of Publication: 2007 Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Pages: ISBN:
Price: Format:Paperback
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Target Readership Educator
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Content: 1 – Ecology, sustainable development and IPM: the human factor; 2 - Form simple IPM to the management of agroecosystems; 3 - Populations, metapopulations: elementary units of IPM systems; 4 - Arthropod pest behaviour and IPM; 5 -Using pheromones to disrupt mating of moth pests; 6 - Nutritional ecology of plant feeding arthropods and IPM; 7 - Conservation, biodiversity and integrated pest management; 8 - Ecological risks of biological control agents: impacts on IPM; 9 - Ecology of natural enemies and genetically engineered host plants; 10 - Modelling the dynamics of tritrophic population interactions; 11 - Weed ecology, habitat management and IPM; 12 - The ecology of vertebrate pests and integrated pest management (IPM); 13 - Ecosystems: concepts, analyses and practical implications of IPM; 14 - Agroecology: contributions towards a renewed ecological foundation for pest management; 15 - Applications of molecular ecology to IPM: what impact?; 16 - Ecotoxicology: the ecology of interactions between pesticides and non-target organisms.

Review: Pest treatment has come a long way since the broadcasting of substances like arsenic. The demands of successive generations for safe pesticides has meant that a variety of chemicals has been used. Some, such as DDT, have returned in another guise in that their original effectiveness (or possible over-effectiveness) is now argued as a lesser evil. Set against these is the idea that every pest must have a predator and that all is required is for that organism to be let loose and all will be well. Living in Australia we've seen the folly of that simplistic view but the idea of integrated pest management (IPM) still has a great deal of mileage. This current volume reviews the linkages between theory and practice with the same goal as earlier pesticides - effective, cheap and safe.

Of course, IPM wouldn't be an issue if it wasn't for one species - people. We alter ecosystems and place organisms in monocultures and then wonder why it goes wrong. Chapter one highlights the problems we've caused and how we got into them as well as some ways out. If this is a review of how we got into the situation, chapter two highlights some of the ideas behind modern IPM showing both development and prospect. Chapter three moves on to consider one of the key basics of the system - population analysis - from the points of view of both pest and predator. Pests are not just there to be acted upon, their behaviour renders some treatments more suitable than others. As chapter four outlines, it is essential that we understand behaviour every bit as much as other basic ecological principles. This idea is carried on in the next chapter which discusses at some length, the use of pheromones to disrupt mating behaviour. Another behavioural element is feeding. If we know more about how, where and when we can better target pest species. Other species are also involved and so the distribution of organisms becomes part of this equation. Pest control is one side of the fence and conservation the other. However, as chapter seven makes clear, there is a need to look at both elements to see how we can maintain biodiversity whilst also controlling pest species. Up to this point, the general direction of the book has been centred on the pest itself with variations on behaviour, location etc. Chapter 8 marks a move towards looking at the other direction. As we know all too well, predator species can get out of control (again, Australia is a classic case here). It's not just changing feeding preferences, there are a range of other, equally important, issues that need to be taken into account. Mirroring the ecology of pests in an earlier chapter, chapter 9 looks at how plants can become better at dealing with pests from ecological and genetically modified aspects. Although a great deal of IPM comes from observation and field trial there is an increasing need for modelling although this is seen as a more complex process than the usual ecological models largely because of the need to examine a wider range of factors in pest control. We return to more empirical material with chapters 11 and 12 looking at the ecology of weeds and vertebrate pests respectively. Here, the idea is that we gain understanding by looking in detail at the pest as well as the predator. In a similar fashion, chapter 13 and 14 are linked by an interest in studying the wider ecological picture through ecosystems and agroecology respectively. The aim in the former is to find ideas that can be used in the latter to manipulate pest species. Chapter 15 examines the role molecular ecology can play in understanding pest species. Finally, chapter 16 discusses the issues that can arise when pesticides get out of the system and interfere with non-pest organisms.

There is a great deal of information here that is not readily put together in one place. As such it highlights the strides that IPM has made from the earliest times. It also shows how far we still have to go is there is any hope of finding the "magic bullet" referred to early in the text. The very detailed nature of the information means that it is really not a beginners text although anyone with some knowledge of pest control would find no difficulty in finding much of interest. As such this makes it a ideal text for the teacher looking for ways to extend current ideas of pest management to look at how the next generation might be developed.

 

 

 

 

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