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National Integrated Pest Management Network.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to crop protection that enhances environmental stewardship by using sustainable approaches to managing pests as an alternative to the automatic use of pesticides. IPM standards combine biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks. By studying and understanding how difficult pest populations develop in addition to knowing how various control options affect the environment, a farmer can implement nonchemical controls as a first line of defense. After careful consideration, traditional pesticides and chemical control measures can then be chosen, timed, and applied when needed to prevent further loss.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the principal agency involved with IPM research and education, and works to spread the word that new IPM practices are cost-effective and compatible with existing knowledge and resources but are not difficult to implement. The USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service sponsors the Web site for the National IPM Network, found at This network is the result of a public-private partnership and is dedicated to making the latest and most accurate information on IPM available on the World Wide Web. Network members include universities, government agencies, and industries that have agreed to a set of Web design standards that ensure the consistent and trustworthy presentation of science-based, unbiased pest management information.

Located on the home page under the IPM Success Story heading are reports from various states that have implemented some form of alternative pest prevention. Also on the home page are links to regional network pages, listed under the Solutions heading. Each regional page is further organized by state, offering links to state government Web sites that can provide suggestions for solving local pest problems.

The site also includes various links to agricultural organizations such as the National Center for Agricultural Law Research and Information, the National Center for Food and Agriculture Policy, the Center for Tropical Pest Management, the Third World Academy of Sciences, and the World Bank, all accessible under the Other Ag Sites link. Also featured are press releases for agriculture news from around the world, found by following the Other Ag Sites link and searching the Agriculture Virtual Library. From the virtual library, clicking on Databases and Software, then Database of IPM Resources, leads to a compendium of worldwide IPM directories that offers a search engine for finding information on specific topics. By clicking on the Main Index link on this page, visitors can view case histories, current research, and resources divided into categories such as crop, control tactic, pest, and region.

For a quick introduction to IPM basics, visitors can click on the What Is IPM link on the home page to access an IPM primer. The primer offers an overview and outline of IPM definitions with a framework describing a sample general IPM program. There is also an electronic IPM textbook, which covers topics such as IPM definitions, methods, crop- and pest-specific programs, public policy, and pesticide issues.
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Author:Greene, Lindsey A.
Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Sep 1, 2000
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