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The Challenge of Green in a Pesticide-Dominant IPM (Integrated Pest Management) World

Advances in pest management have supported dramatic Increases in agricultural production that began with the Green Revolution in 1961. Increased irrigation capacity and higher rates of fertilization that contributed to agricultural intensification created a more permissive agro-environment for pest exploitation, yet crop losses have not significantly increased. Pesticides have played a fundamental part in suppressing pest populations, but their role has been better served when used complementarily to natural control rather than exclusively. The excessive dependence on chemical control during the early decades of synthetic organic insecticides was exposed in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a book that had a profound cultural effect by raising environmental consciousness, but also by instilling a deep suspicion of agrochemicals and technological innovation in agriculture. Consequently, there has been a tendency to see agrochemicals, and by extension biotech crops, mostly for their destructive or potentially destructive nature and not for the benefit they serve in promoting food security. The concept of green in agriculture must be inclusive not only of concern for the impact that agronomic and pest management practices have on the environment, but for how well global agricultural production is meeting food security and sustainability challenges. Nevertheless, representation of environmental concerns has acted as a vital counterweight to industrialized agriculture and provided the impetus to improve agricultural performance while reducing environmental impact. The development of safer and more effective pesticides along with greater implementation of biotech crops allows unprecedented opportunities to combine with biological control and cultural practices to reduce crop losses and promote a greener IPM.

Publication details

Print publication date
13 Jun 2011
Copyright year
Print ISBN
From the book series:
Green Chemistry Series