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Engaging urban stakeholders in the sustainable management of arthropod pests

Abstract

The management of arthropods in urban environments is complex. Although there are species that threaten human health and property, there are also extensive communities of beneficial species that need to be conserved. Current management of arthropod pests in cities relies heavily on the use of synthetic chemicals, which have a range of potential environmental and health impacts. In order to mitigate the impacts of insecticides, urban stakeholders need to be encouraged to reduce reliance on chemical control and adopt more ecologically sustainable approaches. Integrated pest management (IPM) has been globally successful in managing pests in agriculture, but has yet to be broadly practiced in urban systems. Here, we address the global problem of lack of IPM uptake in urban areas. We summarise current arthropod management practices, with comparisons made between the management of pests in urban and agricultural systems, and highlight the benefits of IPM. We then give examples of successful IPM to demonstrate the useful implementation strategies and identify key barriers to the adoption of this approach in urban systems. In particular, the high diversity of stakeholder interests and management practices is a key barrier to overcome in cities, along with lack of awareness of the benefits and implementation strategies of IPM, little emphasis on monitoring pests, restrictions in time/resources, and social factors such as negative public perceptions of insects and policy regulations. We offer suggestions for overcoming these barriers in the hope of encouraging greater application of sustainable arthropod pest management practices for all urban stakeholders.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth C. Lowe.

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The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding or financial holdings that might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review. MW has received funding from the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.

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Lowe, E.C., Latty, T., Webb, C.E. et al. Engaging urban stakeholders in the sustainable management of arthropod pests. J Pest Sci 92, 987–1002 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-019-01087-8

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Keywords

  • Integrated pest management
  • Urbanisation
  • Arthropod
  • Management
  • Community