Crop growth simulation models based on crop ecological and physiological processes, and coupled with pest damage mechanisms, are useful tools for analysing the interaction of pests with other biophysical components of agroecosystems. The use of simulation models in pest management started with the development of single-species population dynamics models in the late 1960s. Later, population dynamics models for bitrophic interactions between pests and natural enemies were devised. Crop growth simulation models were coupled with pest damage mechanisms in the mid-80s, but the approach was described as a one-way analysis of crop–pest interactions because these models accounted for pest effects on crop growth without the reverse being considered. A two-way approach for crop–pest interactions came into being with the interlinking of pest population dynamics models with crop growth simulation models in the 1990s. Pest management research is required to produce practical tools for developing tactics and strategies for pest management. Simulation models help to produce such tools and decision models. They are used for various applications, such as rationalizing pesticide use, pest risk analysis, pest zonation, analysis of climate change impact on pests, and assessing the effect of transgenic crops on the environment. These models have the potential to play even greater roles in the future.
Outlook on Agriculture is an international peer-review journal devoted to agricultural science, policy and strategy. The journal is published quarterly and provides analysis, reviews and commentary for an international and interdisciplinary readership. Special attention is paid to agricultural policy, international trade in the agricultural sector, strategic developments in food production, the role of agriculture in social and economic development, agriculture in developing countries, and environmental issues. Readers include academics, policy makers and practitioners. For more details go to www.ippublishing.com