Purpose of Website
Florida has a major, ongoing investment in IPM and its base biological control strategy. However, most of the work is accomplished by individuals who develop and pursue independent projects, rather than by coordinated, multidisciplinary and multi-organizational teams. This fragmentation has limited the visibility, financial support and effectiveness of IPM in Florida, particularly highly promising large-scale projects. As a result, potentially valuable IPM research and Extension projects are often delayed, reduced to a very limited scale, or not undertaken. Associated Extension programs consequently lack the demonstration projects necessary to implement new, reliable, cost-effective IPM technologies. Educational efforts similarly are forced to rely on concepts and historical examples, without the benefit of stimulating contemporary successes.
The website helps to coordinate UF/IFAS IPM research and Extension by communicating activities, opportunities and successes. It is designed to assist the target audiences with IPM education and training by making information on alternative pest management technologies more accessible. To develop site-specific IPM and biological control technologies more rapidly, and encourage their adoption at the local or grassroots level, is another major objective. These technologies are needed because of increasing concerns about environmental contamination, food safety, and human and animal health resulting from the indiscriminate use, and often misuse, of pesticides in Florida. The faculty member is helping to accelerate the development and implementation of alternative technologies, so current and emerging agricultural productivity can be maximized. The overall goal is to protect Florida's fragile ecosystems, conserve our natural resources, and assure environmental safety. The website contains a wide range of educational materials, including access to tutorials on IPM subjects. Extension Resources contains a wealth of information, such as PowerPoint talks that can be used for Extension training programs. There are exercises for master gardeners and others interested in working with beneficial arthropods.
The IPM Florida website provides up-to-date information on IPM with special emphasis on IPM practices of relevance to Florida. It is divided into three primary sections: agriculture, community and natural area IPM, with a fourth section on applying IPM. This facilitates quick access by County Extension faculty members who are assigned associated areas of work and must respond rapidly to local clientele. The index contains entries for Extension Resources, grant funding, employment, success stories, projects, reports and selected links. The website also has a grants showcase that describes the work being done by County Extension faculty around the state with IPM Florida Innovation Grant funds. It continues to grow in content and activity, and is constantly updated by UF/IFAS staff members and students. The website is becoming very useful for IPM practitioners around the world. IPM Florida is dedicated to the delivery of IPM information and technology with an emphasis on biological control.