Back to the Future: Total System Management (Organic, Sustainable)

Part of the Plant Pathology in the 21st Century book series (ICPP, volume 1)


Many soil disinfestation programs are implemented prior to crop cultivation due to the paucity of therapeutic interventions for controlling soilborne pests. In the 1950s a proliferation of chemical control options ushered in an era of soilborne pest control based upon a single or limited group of chemicals to control target pest organisms. Unfortunately, many chemicals also affected a broad and complex range of nontarget organisms comprising multiple trophic levels. This has necessitated their perpetual use to ensure pest control in agroecosystems where natural pest regulating mechanisms have been compromised. Presently, regulatory issues impact the availability of many chemical pesticides and urbanization of agricultural production regions restrict their use. Future trends further impacting growers include carbon sequestering and trading, increasing demand for biofuels and conservation of natural resources. An alternative, systems-based approach comprised of multiple economic, environmental and social goals is suggested for future crop production. In this total system management approach, creating and promoting conditions suppressive to soilborne pests and the damage they cause is incorporated into the design of the crop production system. For example, the establishment of long-term crop rotational sequences that enhance soil quality, mitigate damaging pest outbreaks, improve the quantity and quality of yields, increase soil carbon sequestration and provide sources of renewable energy. Examples of various approaches to soil disinfestation including a total system management approach are discussed.


Organic agriculture Pest management Soil disinfestation Soil fumigation Sustainable agriculture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceUnited States Horticultural Research LaboratoryFort PierceUSA

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