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Integrated pest management in western Canadian boreal forests

Volney, W.J.A., Mallett, K.I.
Forestry chronicle 1998 v.74 no.4 pp. 597-605
boreal forests, tree age, plant pests, environmental degradation, forest management, stand density, research, integrated pest management, ecosystems, decision making, biological control, Canada
Insects and microorganisms perform a variety of functions in forest ecosystems. A minority of these organisms have been designated as pests. A fair understanding of the pests of mature boreal forests in west-central Canada has been developed. In many cases this has permitted the development of integrated pest management systems methodologies culminating, where appropriate, in the development of decision support systems. Research and development is currently underway to develop and improve such systems for managing pests of young stands. A general principle guiding the management of young stands suggests that emulating natural stand development will minimize losses due to pests. However, biological control techniques are being developed to enhance productivity where it is not feasible for management to emulate natural stand development. The philosophy employed in developing these methods is to rely on the conservation of the biota as they provide a reservoir from which to select organisms which may be useful in development of pest management procedures. Furthermore, the concern of the Canadian public regarding environmental degradation and the extremely low costs of successful biological control strategies, often involving emulating natural stand development to conserve beneficial organisms and obtain desirable stand densities and tree form, favour the development of these strategies to guarantee the sustainability of Canadian forests.