For more than a decade, the U.S. government has promoted integrated pest management (IPM) to advance sustainable agriculture. However, the usefulness of this practice has been questioned because of lagging implementation. There are at least two plausible rationales for the slow implementation: (1) growers are not adopting IPM - for whatever reason - and (2) current assessment methods are inadequate at assessing IPM implementation. Our research addresses the second plausibility. We suggest the traditional approach to measuring IPM implementation on its own fails to assess the distinct, biologically hierarchical components of IPM, and instead aggregates growers‘ management practices into an overall adoption score. Knowledge of these distinct components and the extent to which they are implemented can inform government officials as to how they should develop targeted assistance programs to encourage broader IPM use. We address these concerns by assessing the components of IPM adoption and comparing our method to the traditional approach alone. Our results indicate that there are four distinct components of adoption – weed, insect, general, and ecosystem management – and that growers implement the first two components significantly more often than the latter two. These findings suggest that using a more nuanced measure to assess IPM adoption that expands on the traditional approach, allows for a better understanding of the degree of IPM implementation.
Puente M, Darnall N, Forkner R. 2011. Assessing integrated pest management adoption: measurement problems and policy implications. Environmental Management 48(5), 1013-1023.