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Ecologically Based Pest Management: New Solutions for a New Century
set up to meet the unique demands of each grower. The quantity of pest control may be more or less than the needs of an individual grower. Thus, the more similar the needs and characteristics are among a pest-management group, the more likely that growers will join and participate.
Some of the most effective biological-control organisms and products in EBPM are projected to have modest uses or small markets, and will require public sector support for regulatory approval as well as for research. The best cases involve release of self-perpetuating classical biological-control organisms that produce great public good, but which have no commercial viability in the private sector. The costs associated with obtaining registration can discourage commercialization of biological-control organisms, as is the case now for minor use chemical pesticides, products needed on small acreage or in such small markets that they lack commercial appeal. In the same way that public funds help with approval processes of minor use chemical pesticides by regulatory agencies, public investment can ensure continued progress for biological technologies.
Organized efforts to increase distribution of high-quality biological tools will facilitate grower acceptance of EBPM. The procedure of crop seed certification by state agencies guarantees that new cultivars are genetically pure and that noxious weeds, arthropods, and pathogens are below detection limits. Each certification board tests, increases, releases, and distributes new field crops according to predetermined standards (Poehlman and Sleper, 1995). Such a process of release benefits the individual grower with valuable information on product performance and quality, lowering the risk of adoption.
Monitoring for the potential development of resistance by pest organisms is key to managing the long-term viability of ecologically based systems (Gould, 1991). Biological-control organisms, products, and resistant plants are valuable entities and the numbers of these tools that meet the criteria of EBPM—safe, profitable, and durable—must be considered finite. Pest resistance to broad-spectrum, chemical pesticides is a recurring problem. Resistance to Bt, a microbial pesticide derived from Bacillus thuringiensis has also been observed in certain arthropod pests (Gould, 1991; National Audubon Society, 1991). The predominance of resistance biotypes will be directly related to the degree and duration of selection pressure applied to the target pest by the biological-control organism, product, or plant. If resistant biotypes selected from pest populations