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Concepts of sustainability, motivations for pest management approaches, and implications for communicating change

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 05:50 authored by Sherman, J, Gent, DH
Impact and relevance are valued by both plant pathologists and the supporters of research and extension. Impact has been characterized as the “So what?” of research results, and in applied research in agriculture typically involves some change in human behavior. This might involve, for instance, avoidance of broad spectrum pesticides, use of economic thresholds, or adoption of a new cultural practice in disease management. Changes in human behavior often are slow and difficult, even when the potential benefits of change seem clear. Research and extension personnel working with farmers have discussed for decades the apparent slow pace of adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) and other less-pesticide-intensive management practices. The reasons why change is slow are numerous, but one aspect that warrants consideration is how changes in farm practices are communicated to farmers. Effectively communicating changes in pest management practices at the farm level requires a system of research and extension management that differs from that to which most biological scientists are accustomed. What is the motivation for farmers to deviate from historical practices? How persuasive are concepts of environmental sustainability, integrated pest management, risk management, and economic gain in communicating the needs for change? In addressing these questions, it is useful to understand some of the basic determinants of farmers' decision processes and motivations to adopt practices. This article discusses these issues.


Publication title

Plant Disease: An International Journal of Applied Plant Pathology










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Amer Phytopathological Soc

Place of publication

3340 Pilot Knob Road, St Paul, USA, Mn, 55121

Rights statement

This article is in the public domain and not copyrightable. It may be freely reprinted with customary crediting of the source. The American Phytopathological Society, 2014

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments

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