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Annual Reports

2000Letter from the Director, Frank Zalom

Photo of Frank Zalom IPM programs are sometimes described as developing along a continuum from adoption of basic scouting activities to biointensive programs that consider the whole ecosystem in every decision. The IPM Continuum concept is useful because it emphasizes IPM’s sustainable, ecologically-based goal while acknowledging the limitations of both the current research base and the economic/sociological challenges that preclude that goal from being reached.

The IPM Continuum places professional scouting and use of available action thresholds at its minimum level. The increased knowledge of crop status, pests, and beneficial organisms obtained from monitoring supports better informed pesticide treatment and, more importantly, no treatment decisions. While this specific knowledge is fundamental to IPM systems, the vision for IPM is to provide tools that will allow growers and pest managers to transition from continued reliance on broad-spectrum pesticide inputs to biologically-based management systems, which represent the highest level of the IPM Continuum. These ecologically-based IPM systems would incorporate preventative nonchemical horticultural or agronomic practices and biologically-based IPM tactics such as host plant resistance, pheromone mating disruption, microbial controls and biological controls. "Reduced-risk" pesticides—those that present less risk to human health and the environment than most traditional pesticides—would be used sparingly and only when other options are not available, and higher risk pesticides would be eliminated.

Many growers and pest managers now utilize scouting and available decision rules on a number of California's crops. For instance, a recent USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service grower survey reported that several largely California-grown crops rated among the highest of any crops nationally in use of monitoring and thresholds; these include grapes (54%), oranges (64%), almonds (54%), and pistachios (85%). Fewer growers have begun to utilize cultural or biological options, but there is clearly a desire to do so if the options are economical and effective. The challenge will be to develop IPM-compatible strategies and tactics that will enable California to continue its transition towards the goal of sound, ecologically-based IPM systems.

Researching and extending the tools and information necessary to help California growers and pest managers move further along the Continuum are the highest priorities of the UC Statewide IPM Program. Read this report to see some highlights of these activities as we mark our 20th Anniversary in the year 2000.

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