Since the days of the world's earliest inhabitants, pests and humans have co-existed. However, methods of keeping pests in their place have varied widely and evolved over time. Now more than ever, it is critical to make thoughtful and appropriate changes and sustain positive outcomes. Constructing a multidisciplinary, sustainable pest management program requires an integrated operational approach. It is far more complex than setting up IPM project in an only agricultural area.
In farming, a farmer is the single decision maker and most of the decisions are based on economics. In non-agriculture setting there are multiple stakeholders and decision makers and economics are not the only driving factors. There are unique infrastructure complexities in a large organization such as Santa Clara County. Program sustainability requires the coordinated efforts of many individuals and groups, strong leadership, effective governing policy, resources, cooperation among user groups and alliances among these groups and the wider community.
Continued success of the IPM program requires effective and efficient management, continued adoption of best practices and synergies with other sustainable development projects. Benchmark surveys, regular inspections and monitoring, interoperable and immediately accessible digital information are critical to rapidly address pest issues in a sustainable way.
Alliances and collaborations also help leverage financial resources and increase efficiencies in staff use, data, and information sharing. Larger groups will also have a greater ability to influence markets and research. Collaborations help with the development of consistent messages and tools and lower the possibility of conflicting practices in different communities. These factors all contribute to low-risk, sustainable and affordable alternatives.
Outreach efforts will continue to be required for effective communication, research, trials and demonstrations. Training will be necessary to overcome psychological and institutional barriers to changes in long-established practices.
Some sustainable trends take time to establish themselves, while others set down roots in the marketplace and grow quickly. In both long and short-term results, the IPM program has made a paradigm shift in how we look at pests and a pesticide-free environment. Initiated in 2002, it has been able to demonstrate noteworthy sustained achievements in how we think about pest management and pesticide pollution prevention.
This represents a significant stride toward building a greater, sustainable future.