Review of evidence on Integrated Pest Management

Hannah Adamson, Carla Turner, Eleanor Cook, Henry E. Creissen, Andy Evans, Sarah Cook, Mark Ramsden, Ewan Gage, Leila Froud, Faye Ritchie, James Clarke

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan puts Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at the centre of the future approach to crop protection. The aim is to create policies which focus on minimising pesticide use and making the greatest possible use of alternatives, such as improved crop husbandry and the use of natural predators.The European Union’s Sustainable Use Directive aims to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human health and the environment and promoting the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and of alternative approaches or techniques, such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. EU countries have drawn up National Action Plans to implement the range of actions set out in the Directive. It provides the following definition of IPM:Integrated pest management means careful consideration of all available plant protection methods and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of populations of harmful organisms and keep the use of plant protection products and other forms of intervention to levels that are economically and ecologically justified and reduce or minimise risks to human health and the environment. 'Integrated pest management' emphasises the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.In practice IPM follows a multi-layered approach, involving the use of preventative methods, monitoring, determining and observing thresholds for acceptable levels of crop damage, and determining the most appropriate methods of control: • The first line of pest control is the use of preventative cultural methods, such as crop rotation, pest-resistant varieties and crop sanitation. These can be effective and economical, with typically a lower risk to people and the environment, compared with chemical pesticides.• IPM requires effective monitoring, including inspection and identification of pest issues. Not all insects, weeds, fungal pathogens and other living organisms have a sufficient impact to require control measures, and accurate identification allows appropriate control decisions to be made. Monitoring minimises the potential for interventions to be used when they are not needed, and is used to ensure the correct timing of the control method (chemical or non-chemical) to optimise effectiveness. • Thresholds are set, above which pest, weed and disease populations levels are expected to cause damage that becomes economically or environmentally unsustainable. Once a threshold has been crossed, an intervention is made to control the pest, weed or disease. The emphasis is on control rather than complete eradication of a pest population. Maintaining a low surviving pest population is important to provide a food source for natural predators, which can then continue to prevent significant population development during the season. • The most appropriate control method is determined based on both effectiveness and risk. It is important in an IPM programme to utilise as wide a range of control options as possible because reliance on a single technique can lead to problems with resistance. Non-chemical methods are preferred where these have been shown to be effective in delivering the required quality and consistency of control. • Methods of control include:o Mechanical, including hand weeding, physical barriers, traps, tillage, vacuuming, hygiene measures;o Biological, including use of predatory species, sterile insect techniques, or biological insecticides; ando Chemical, including specifically targeted and broad spectrum products. Defra’s most recent large scale survey of ‘The awareness, use and promotion of integrated crop and pest management amongst farmers and growers’ was conducted by ADAS in 2002. The authors concluded that any future survey should attempt to tease out the key components of Integrated Crop Management (ICM)/IPM, and should identify and target specific indicators, such as those related to choice of varieties or insecticides. Defra’s Farm Practices Surveys (2008, 2009) examined the extent of use of Integrated Farm Management (similar to IPM but also covering fertilizers), and a study by ADAS in 2009 examined how regulatory changes, including the introduction of the EU Sustainable Use Directive, were likely to impact on the usage of chemical pesticides, in different scenarios.ObjectiveThe aims of this study are:• to enhance Defra’s understanding of what works in IPM through a comprehensive review of recent evidence; and • to collect best practice examples that can inform communication with farmers and growers. The key objectives of the research are to:• Provide an overview of the extent and coverage of IPM practice in the UK, building on the ADAS 2002 survey, exploring what is shown by more recent evidence, and identifying areas where more up-to-date evidence would be helpful ;• Produce a categorisation of IPM interventions by impact (positive, negative, no impact) by bringing together results of existing evidence reviews and impact evaluations using robust methods (such as Randomised Control Trials and equivalent quasi-experimental methods), indicating areas where more evidence is needed; • Provide summary case studies of up to 10 IPM initiatives that have had a positive impact and are potentially replicable in the UK. Case studies should be chosen to cover a diversity of crops and pests, indoor and outdoor growing, and IPM methods; and• Assess the extent to which the current literature provides insight into the factors that encourage or discourage farmers and growers to adopt IPM approaches, providing a summary of the key findings on this.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages196
VolumeProject_ 27269
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020


  • IPM
  • Integrated Pest Management
  • rapid evidence assessment


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