Menalled, F. D., D. A. Landis, and L. E. Dyer. 2004. Research and extension supporting ecologically based IPM systems. Journal of Crop Improvement 11:153-174.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has a long history of developing pest management strategies based on ecological principles. While IPM systems differ in their reliance on chemical controls, an ecological approach to IPM offers opportunities both to test ecological theory and to develop novel pest management techniques. We review ecological concepts relevant to habitat management as a tool for managing pest and natural enemy populations in annual cropping systems, and we describe a case study of the impacts of habitat management on predatory ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in annual cropping systems. Experimental manipulation of carabid population density revealed a positive relationship between the abundance of carabids in cropland and prey removal. Provision of stable refuge habitats in annual crops increased carabid species richness and abundance. Further studies demonstrated that the presence of refuge habitats mitigated the impacts of insecticide disturbance on carabid abundance and community structure in adjacent cropland. These results were used as part of a program to educate extension agents and producers in the principles of agroecology and ecologically based pest management. We encourage extension agents and producers to test novel practices using adaptive management. In this approach, predictions are formulated regarding specific management practices and evaluated against the results. Based on these observations, management is then adapted to yield the desired outcome. Such an approach recognizes the inherent uncertainty of multifactor ecological manipulation while providing producers with methods to manage this uncertainty.
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