The Need for Guidelines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, both currently responsible for oversight or pesticide regulations, should develop and publish a guide to risk criteria, data requirements, and oversight procedures that apply to importation, movement, introduction, testing, and release or registration of biological-control organisms or products.

Inconsistencies in the existing laws and regulations are barriers to effective, efficient oversight of biological-control organisms, products, and resistant plants. Complexities and anomalies of the current regulatory system may be attributed to the overlapping jurisdiction of several agencies, the diversity of organisms to be regulated, and the attempt to make the decision-making ''template" developed for registration of conventional chemical pesticides applicable to biological controls. It is essential that regulatory agencies assess risk using criteria and protocols that are appropriate to biological tools in contrast to broad-spectrum synthetic chemical pesticides. This will provide an appropriate level of oversight and minimize costs imposed by duplication of oversight and reporting requirements.

A NEW ERA

This committee believes that it is necessary to refocus objectives from pest control to pest management based on maintaining natural ecological balances. The problems of consumer and societal acceptance, safety, pest resistance, and economic cost dictate the need for immediate change in current pest-management practices that rely on short-term, broad spectrum solutions to solve major pest problems. There needs to be a paradigm shift in pest-management theory from managing components or individual organisms to an approach that examines processes, flows, and relationships among organisms. Major barriers must be overcome if EBPM is to be successful. It cannot be overemphasized that collaboration of scientists in a range of disciplines, suppliers of agricultural products, educators, and growers is critical to the success of EBPM. Many believe that the consultant/farmer linkage will be where knowledge, decision making, and action take place. The lack of such collaboration contributed to a retreat from the principles of IPM. This committee sees an opportunity to move beyond IPM and into an information-rich era in which collaborative efforts break down current barriers among the disciplines, institutions, and philosophies to achieve ecologically based pest-management solutions that are safe, profitable, and durable.



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