Integrated (ecologically based) rodent management in specific agricultural areas of the developing world.
Many vertebrate species have developed a close association with man’s environment, and are now considered pests. Most are incidental pests that do not cause widespread problems, although their impact can be severe and must be addressed in localised situations. Incidental pests include several species of bird, ungulates, primates and occasionally carnivores. Rodents are the exception because a few species have become major pests to man.
Rodent pests are a major problem for the developed and the developing world, consuming and contaminating food, damaging structures and installations, and carrying disease. Rodent-pest control is a well-established industry in the developed world and the problem is mostly under control, using the most advanced methods and active compounds. In the developing world, however, control is very often ineffective or non-existent because funds and expertise are limited.
It is often the agricultural industry that implements rodent control, focussing on the field pests that damage cash crops. However, the resulting costs are mostly borne by the poor because rodent pests adversely affect their subsistence crops, their income and their health. The debilitating effects of rodent-borne diseases are usually unreported until times of natural disaster, when these problems increase disproportionately.
Often the control measures taken by industry are ineffective, because they are reactive and normally only implemented when the growers are convinced there is a problem. At this stage, rodent populations are very high, are difficult to control, and the damage is already at an advanced stage. The methods adopted are often not cost-effective; with ineffective use of rodenticides posing a prolonged environmental risk. Rodents are also highly productive, and populations can quickly recover from ineffective control.
The aims of the proposed research would be to develop an integrated (ecologically based) pest-management technology that addresses the needs of smallholders and poorer people.
Buckle, A.P. & Smith, R.H. (1994). Rodent Pests and Their Control. CAB International: Wallingford, England, UK.ISBN 0-85198-820-2.1994.X+405P. (ISBN: 0851988202)
Singleton, G.R., Hinds, L.A., Leirs, H., and Zhang, Z. (1999) Ecologically-based management of rodent pests. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) monograph series No. 59. (ISBN: 1863202625)