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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Making sense of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in the light of evolution

Karlsson Green, Kristina; Stenberg, Johan A.; Lankinen, Asa


Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic approach to combat pests (including herbivores, pathogens, and weeds) using a combination of preventive and curative actions, and only applying synthetic pesticides when there is an urgent need. Just as the recent recognition that an evolutionary perspective is useful in medicine to understand and predict interactions between hosts, diseases, and medical treatments, we argue that it is crucial to integrate an evolutionary framework in IPM to develop efficient and reliable crop protection strategies that do not lead to resistance development in herbivores, pathogens, and weeds. Such a framework would not only delay resistance evolution in pests, but also optimize each element of the management and increase the synergies between them. Here, we outline key areas within IPM that would especially benefit from a thorough evolutionary understanding. In addition, we discuss the difficulties and advantages of enhancing communication among research communities rooted in different biological disciplines and between researchers and society. Furthermore, we present suggestions that could advance implementation of evolutionary principles in IPM and thus contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture that is resilient to current and emerging pests.


biological control; crop wild relatives; economic injury level; evolutionary application; evolutionary integrated pest management; pesticide resistance; plant resistance; plant tolerance

Published in

Evolutionary applications
2020, Volume: 13, number: 8, pages: 1791-1805
Publisher: WILEY