Here are summaries of some of the IPM research, innovations and projects going on in Alaska, or benefitting Alaska agriculture, communities and natural areas. Projects listed here are not necessarily funded by the Western IPM Center.
- A Home-Grown Industry: Alaskan Peonies Fills a Global Gap
Not very long ago, if you were planning a summer wedding or special occasion, one flower you could not get at any price was a peony. The elegant, lacy blooms simply weren’t available. Alaska changed all that.
- What's Plaguing that Peony?
Proper identification of a disease is the critical first step for growers to apply the correct treatment. In peonies, proper disease identification was a problem. If a plant was diseased, growers assumed that their plants were sick with Botrytis gray mold. The reality was more complex.
- Citizen Scientists in Alaska Watch for Invasive Species
To expand the number of eyes watching out for exotic and invasive pests, the Alaska IPM Program recruites “Citizen Scientists” to be on the lookout for unusual insects, plants and disease organisms throughout the state.
- Hill-Climbing Cows May Bring Big Benefits to Western Rangeland and Ranchers
Conventional wisdom says cows don’t go up steep slopes. They don’t climb hills and don’t travel very far from water. But some cows never got that memo, and researchers are looking into whether naturally hill-climbing cows can provide production and environmental benefits in the rugged West.
- School IPM Protects Kids from Pests and Pesticides
Both pests and pesticides are potentially harmful for kids and adults in schools. Common schools pests like the German cockroach or mice can carry disease and cause allergic responses. And children can be more at risk for harm from sprayed pesticides because of their behavior – playing on the floor or in grassy fields, for instance – and because of their developing physiology.
- VIDEO: Learning about Insects in Anchorage
Anchorage-area sixth graders learn about forest insect ecology during the 43rd annual Outdoor Week at the Bureau of Land Management's Campbell Creek Science Center.
- IPM Adoption is Widespread in the West
Many integrated pest management practices are so widely adopted in Western agriculture they have become conventional pest management. That is one of the key findings of a new report by the Western Integrated Pest Management Center titled Adoption and Impacts of Integrated Pest Management in Agriculture in the Western United States.
- Decoding Chemical Communications to Control Insects
University of California, Riverside chemical ecologist Jocelyn Millar identifies the chemical signals insects use to communicate, then synthesizes versions of them to help monitor, trap or disrupt their activities. Lygus bug is just one of dozens of species Millar and his team are working on. The common thread is that they all communicate chemically, and decoding those chemical signals can create new ways to control those species where they are pests.
- Alaska In Photos: America's Arctic Agriculture
Alaska is huge, diverse, remote and still largely pristine. It's 2.3 times the size of Texas, with a population of just 738,000 people and 175,000 moose.
While small, the state's ag industry is important. Ornamentals, aquaculture, potatoes and cattle are top crops, and home-based and small-scale production help improve food security and diversity. Here's a little of what we saw and learned on a recent visit.
- Toolkit for Assessing IPM Outcomes and Impacts
The Western IPM Center’s IPM Adoption and Impacts Assessment Work Group, a collection of natural and social scientists from across the country, created online resources showing IPM researchers how to conduct basic impact assessments.
- Water Quality Protection
To protect water sources from pollution by pesticides, one of the first Western IPM Center signature projects created training materials for proper pesticide application for agriculture, professional landscapers and homeowners. In a little more than one year, the slides were downloaded 106 times in 20 U.S. states and one Canadian province, and used to train more than 1,400 people.
- VIDEO: Functional Agricultural Biodiversity
- Farmers embracing functional agricultural biodiversity incorporate habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife on their farms - and benefit from the ecosystem service that habitat provides.
- Eco-Label Programs Promote IPM, but Aren't Perfect
Eco-label programs have clear benefits and promote more sustainable pest-management and growing practices. They also provide certain benefits for growers but have downsides as well. Significant differences between the programs can make judging eco labels challenging for consumers, and with dozens of similar yet competing certification programs and standards, chaos is likely for the foreseeable future.
- VIDEO: Urban Farm Pest Pressures and Solutions
- Learn about the pest pressures faced by urban farmers -- and how integrated pest management provides economical solutions -- with Ariel Agenbroad, Local Food & Farms Advisor with University of Idaho Extension.
- VIDEO: Where to Get Good Gardening Advice
- In this video, Ariel Agenbroad from University of Idaho offers great tips for home gardeners about where to get good pest-management advice.
- VIDEO: Battling Bird Cherry in Anchorage
- European bird cherry, also known as the May Day tree, is one of the most pervasive invasive species in Anchorage, Alaska. Here's how it got there, and what folks are now doing to get rid of it.