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Biocontrol Reference Center

THE HISTORY OF INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM)

Courtesy of the International Pest Management Institute.
Currie Enterprises

You did not weave the web of life, you are merely a strand in it. Whatever you do to the web, you do to yourself. You may think you own the land. You do not. It is God's. The earth is precious to God and to harm the earth is to heap contempt upon its creator. - Chief Seattle (1854)


The basic biological concepts of Integrated Pest Management have been practiced for years and the philosophical concepts are intertwined in the practice of IPM.

About the time humans started aggregating into villages and began planting selected food crops in clusters near rivers in fertile valleys, pests became an increasing challenge. They had to live with the ravages of pests of all types that attacked them and their crops. Through trial and error, humans began to learn how to improve conditions and control the environment. People learned to perform cultural and physical control practices for crop protection. Methods such as destroying or using crop refuse, roughing diseased plants, tillage to expose an eliminate soil insects, removal of alternate hosts off pathogens and insects, timing of planting, crop rotation, trap crops, determining optimum planting sites, pruning, dusting with sulphur, and others reduced damage potential to many crops from many pests. These cultural and physical control methods are still viable today.

These cultural and physical methods of crop protection were developed, refined and used into the late 1800's. As crop production methods improved, larger and larger acreage of crops were cultivated, an less reliance made on diversified agriculture. Equipment became larger and faster, and cultivation of larger acreage became feasible - monoculture replaced diversification. Some pest problems no longer could be controlled by the known combinations of cultural and physical practices, so the search was on for more effective pest control measures. A great number of noxious mixtures were tried with few beneficial results, until the discovery of "Paris Green" in 1870 for insect control and, in 1882, the discovery of "Bordeaux Mixture" for control of fungi. These discoveries ushered in an age of chemical research leading to the development of inorganic chemicals in early 1900 for pest control in agriculture until the 1940's. Crops resistant to insects and plant disease were known, but development of resistant cultivated varieties was not pursued until after 1900. The development and use of cultural controls for crop protection almost disappeared from crop production practices.

However, there were some early advocates of less reliance upon pesticides. Stephen A. Forbes, University of Illinois, adopted the word "ecology and applied ecological studies for insect studies in agricultural crops in the 1880's Charles W. Woodworth, A.E. Michelbacher (University of California, and many others stressed the importance of ecology in insect control. A highly sophisticated system for cotton boll weevil control had been developed by 1920, and economic thresholds were identified to initiate spray treatments with calcium arsenate. In spite off some of these early success stories, there was a gradual shift toward dependence upon chemical pesticides. Although there was some reported resistance of pests to pesticides, these were largely ignored. It was noted that after treatments with the inorganic insecticides, other pests emerge and populations were accentuated. In the mid 1940's, the introduction of DDT and other organochlorine chemicals and the organophosphates and carbarnates later, led to almost total dependence upon chemical pesticides for crop production. This eventually led to concerns about the adverse effects of excessive use of pesticides on the environment, financial burdens from increasing costs of pesticides, and health hazards to growers, applicators and others. The publication of "Silent Spring" in 1962 by Rachel Carson pointed out the importance of the potential effects of chemical pesticide dependence.

In the late 1960's, a movement to develop more environmentally benign crop protection methods began. Although economics was the prime driver to use crop scouting to determine spray schedules, it was a first real step toward an IPM approach. It wasn't long before some scouting approaches started noticing increased numbers of parasites and predators when sprays were delayed or eliminated. In the 1970's, researchers began to identify and develop crop protection systems that integrated many of measures to reduce pest populations to levels below damaging levels requiring pesticides. In the 1980's, some pioneering advocates of IPM began applying IPM principles an practices to urban sites. Since that time, IPM systems have been developed for several urban sites such as schools, parks, hospitals, and nursing homes.


THE FORMATIVE YEARS (1880 - 1961)

Major events (and other dates of possible interest)

1880
California approves "Act for the Promotion of Viticultural Industries
of the State"

1881
California approves "Act to Protect and Promote the Horticultural
Interests of the State (amendments in 1889 and 1891)

Also established the County Board of Horticultural Commissioners

1888
Federal Hatch Act forms land grant Agricultural Universities

First highly successful classical biological control program
- importation of vedalia beetle to control cottony-cushion scale
in citrus

1891
Board of Health, New York City, seizes grapes with visible presence
of Bordeaux Mixture and throws them in the river

1892
Canada passes law which prohibits spraying of trees while in bloom
with chemicals harmful to bees

1894
Utah requires mandatory spraying of fruit tree pests

1895
Judge in Utah considers law absolutely necessary but doubts
constitutionality; Chief Justice rules unconstitutional

1903
British Royal Commission on Arsenical Poisoning sets arsenical
residue limit

1925
British threaten ban on American fruit exports; apples with high
levels of lead arsenate

1927
U.S. Food and Drug Administration sets tolerance for export at 1/100
of a grain of arsenic trioxide on apples for import; 2.5/100 of a grain
set for domestic apples with 1.05/100 objective for 1932, as modified
in 1928

1929
Pest resurgence after repeated pesticide applications documented in
Texas

1933
100,000,000 Guinea Pigs published with a chapter focusing on the
hazards of arsenic and lead arsenate and lack of government action to
deal with problem

1939
DDT introduced

1947
First documented case of pesticide resistance (common house fly
resistant to DDT)

1948
Minimizing adverse effects on beneficial organisms by proper
selection of pesticides pioneered by A.D. Pickett in Canada
(Ripper, 1955)

1952
Pesticide handbook lists 4400 trade named pesticides (1991
California registered approximately 9500 trade named pesticides)

1959
The cranberry scare - Washington and Oregon growers use
aminotriazole before registration (aminotriazole, which causes
cancer in thyroid of rats, was discontinued in 1987 by company)


THE EARLY CONTROVERSY 1962 - 1971

1962
"Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson published

1967
Association of Applied Insect Ecologists chartered

1969
National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA)

Mrak report - a comprehensive study on pesticides and their impact

Federal phase-out of DDT for all but "essential" uses

American Trial Lawyers Association establishes Environmental Law
Committee

1970
First "Earth Day" on April 22

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially formed

Number of farms set at 2,949,000 - a drop from 3,018,000 from 1945

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)


ON-THE-BANDWAGON 1972 - 1980

1972
Federal Environmental Pesticides Control Act

California - law to promote pest management systems and to license
pest control advisors

Huffaker Project - USDA funds first major IPM research effort

1977
IPM program started in California Department of Food and
Agriculture

1978
The Pesticide Conspiracy by Robert van den Bosch

1979
IPM program started at University of California (1978)

IPM mentioned in President Carter's Environmental Message

President Carter's Memorandum to Federal agencies
to adopt IPM strategies


HANGING ON 1980 - 1990

1980
USDA and EPA fund second national IPM research program -
"Adkisson Project"

National Parks Service adopts IPM policy and implements IPM
program

1984
Pesticide Resistance Management Conference

1986
Sustainable Agriculture program started at U.C.

1987
First Approved release of genetically-altered bacteria
(strawberries in Contra Costa County treated with Ice-Minus)

1988
National IPM Coalition forms

1989
Biological Control Centennial

1990
International Organization for Pesticide Resistance Management
formed

County Agricultural Commissioners begin reporting on IPM,
biological control, and sustainable agriculture activities in annual
crop report

1992
International Pest Management Institute was founded

1993
National Coalition proposes "Biologically Intensive" IPM

Food processors look to IPM

EPA starts work on policy to register "safer" pesticides

1994
EPA Office of Pesticides Programs forms Biopesticides and
Pollution Prevention Division

President Clinton's memorandum to federal agencies to adopt IPM


THE FUTURE - 1995 AND BEYOND

1995
IPMI introduces a one-day workshop for Rodent Management and
the Hantavirus

IPMI revises its IPM for Schools and Other Public Sites workbook

IPMI works toward international markets for IPM workshops


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