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Sustainable Entomology: How Insect Scientists Can Protect Our Planet

June 07, 2017 |

This article was originally published on Entomology Today.

“…“Sustainable entomology” describes practicing any entomological discipline while incorporating sustainable practices and values. Sustainable entomology most obviously permeates integrated pest management (IPM). Prioritizing nonchemical controls assists with pesticide resistance management. This means pesticides for emergency situations retain efficacy further into the future. Reduction in pesticide use also protects our shared natural resources like soil, air, and water from potential unintended contamination. IPM has already produced great benefits, though it varies among situations. At Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, we have reduced pesticide use by almost 75 percent since implementing IPM practices in 2008.

Phipps Conservatory IPM pesticide use

Number of pesticides applied each year, by pesticide category, at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. These numbers refer to the number of times each pesticide was applied, not the number of applications, as some recorded applications consisted of mixes of pesticides of different categories. Therefore, the number of total pesticide applications each year is actually lower than the total number of applied pesticides. (Image credit: Ryan C. Gott, Ph.D., Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens)

Other entomological fields contribute to sustainability as well. Forest entomologists work to protect our natural capital from pests and ensure its persistence into the future. Medical entomologists fight insect-borne disease, safeguarding human health in the present and eradicating or limiting pests to protect future generations. Industrial entomologists work to find cheap, renewable, insect-derived products that can replace those in current use that are unsustainable. And the exploration of edible insects could very well help in the fight against world hunger and climate change. You could easily describe sustainable benefits from every field of entomology. However, so far we discussed only the results or products of research. True sustainable entomology strives for sustainability in its processes as well…”

Read on at: Entomology Today.

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