Studying online

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Unit Overview


Production of fibre, feed and food in fields, greenhouses and forests requires environmental manipulation to optimise production. At the same time, these manipulations may favour population growth of organisms, which can become economically important pests. That is, they may be able to take advantage of the production system we have created. A production system should be designed to balance two somewhat opposing requirements: (1) safeguarding the production against pests; and (2) maximising productivity. These two requirements are considered antagonistic, because one typically reduces the other. For instance, a very high yielding variety is typically more susceptible to pests and diseases. Also, applications of pesticides may increase safeguarding against pests, but it lowers productivity due to higher input costs. This unit focuses on successful safeguarding of crops against pests, and that requires in-depth understanding about the driving ecological factors and the biology of the organisms involved. Students discuss and explore the concepts of 'pests' and 'pest management' in agricultural systems with particular reference to agricultural systems in Western Australia. However, they also cover case stories from other parts of the world and discuss integrated pest management (IPM) in an international context. The unit should be considered relevant to students with interests in production systems, natural resource management, environmental risk assessment, food security and environmental/ecological modelling.

6 points

Students are able to (1) understand the common characteristics of the major pest groups that contribute to their development as pest organisms; (2) explain the economic, environmental and societal costs of the major pest groups; (3) describe approaches to biosecurity; (4) describe major pathways and barriers to pest invasion; (5) describe basic processes of insect functioning and how these relate to pest status; (6) describe the economic injury level and its importance in an IPM program; (7) identify the major techniques used for pest monitoring and surveillance; and (8) identify, compare and evaluate pest management tactics.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a theory quiz; (2) a paper developing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan; and (3) preparation of an insect collection. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit rules
SCIE3351 Integrated Pest Management, SCIE8351 Integrated Pest Management
Contact hours
5 days (1 day per fortnight). The total workload for the unit is 150 hours.

New, T. R. Insects and Pest Management in Australian Agriculture: OUP 2002

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  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.