ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark

Extra Papers

Ecological Pest Management, EPM E20

Helenius, J.

MTT Agricultural Research Centre, Institute of Plant Protection. Present address: Department of Plant Production, B.O. Box 27, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

In the discussion paper, ecological pest management, EPM is defined as a pest management approach that sets ecological sustainability as a the fundamental criteria of pest control (Helenius, 1995). Ecology as a study about interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms' (Krebs, 1972) is the scientific base of EPM. Unlike the conventional integrated pest management (IPM), EPM does not compromise over the primary criteria. For example, IMP maintains a liberal view towards use of pesticides: gains must be greater than losses. It represents understandable consensus among interests of pesticide industry, conventional agriculture and applied science. In the EPM approach, the cumulated knowledge of ecological side effects of pesticide use is enough for taking a more strict view. Ecological sustainability does not allow short term economic gains to dictate the strategy.
EPM is a scientific approach suited to all production systems: to organic farming, but also to integrated farming, pesticide free farming and conventional farming. Chemical options are not excluded by principle, but an ecologically safe pesticide is awaiting.
Regional Crop Rotation is described as an example of EPM-oriented approach (Helenius, 1995 and 1996). Levins (1969) described a model that initiated expansion of population biology to what today is called metapopulation biology. Levins's (1969) concern was in pest control, but since then, the theory has developed most within conservation biology. The theory of conservation of species can be reversed for purposes of EPM. According to this theory, pest species that form metapopulations of Levins's classic model, can be managed by crop rotations that extend beyond single farm boundaries: regional rotations.
Turning entire regions, not just single farms organic would facilitate EPM within organic agriculture. At present, organic farmland form just small and rather isolated islands in a sea of conventional farmland. In such setting, regional planning and co-operation for pest management is difficult if not impossible. EPM adds to many reasons to politically support formation of entire regions under organic production.

Helenius, J. (1995): Regional crop rotations for ecological pest management (EPM) at landscape level. British Crop Protection Council Symposium Proceedings No 63: Integrated Crop Protection: Towards Sustainability? pp. 255-260.

Helenius, J. (1996): Spatial scales in ecological pest management: importance of regional crop rotations. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture. In press.
Krebs, C. J. (1972): Ecology. The Experimental Analysis of Distribution and Abundance. Harper & Row, New York. 694 p.

Levins, R. (1969): Some demographic and genetic consequences of environmental heterogeneity for biological control. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America, 15, 237-240.