Pest Management: Modeling

Authored by: Andrew Paul Gutierrez

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120046224

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Abstract

Pest management is a key component of sustainable agriculture and may be defined as applied population ecology focusing on human managed populations of plants and/or domesticated animals and their pests and natural enemies in environments modified by weather and agro-technical inputs. The complexity of managing pests in an agro-ecosystem requires the development of models that enable the separation of losses due to pests from yield variation due to weather and agronomic practices. Such models provide the bases for evaluating the dual objectives in modern agriculture of minimizing inputs that cause adverse environmental, human, and animal health effects and maximizing net profits. In modern societies, these goals may result in conflicts between public and private interests, but this is usually not the case in subsistence agriculture where the goal is often yield stability. The components and methods commonly used in crop pest management research may also apply to research on medical and veterinary pests. The methods to analyze these problems fall under the ambit of agro-ecosystems analysis. The analysis must be tri-trophic in scope in most systems because natural processes such as biological and natural control, when correctly managed, can be used to replace disruptive pesticide inputs that may induce resurgence of target pests, outbreaks of secondary pests, and pesticide resistance. Agronomic inputs (e.g., pesticides, fertilizers, water) may also impact pest levels and must be considered as part of the pest management system. Several modeling approaches have been used in pest management, and they may be broadly classed as empirical, statistical, operations research, analytical, and simulation.

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