Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Training on ecological control of pests ongoing at IRRI

Management of rice pests (rodents, weeds, insects, birds, and golden apple snails) needs both a strong ecological and social dimension, such as that offered by a training course on ecological management of pests in rice agroecosystems that is ongoing (4-15 November) at IRRI headquarters.

The course was jointly convened by IRRI senior scientists Grant Singleton (rodent management) and David Johnson (weed management). Charles Krebs, a world-renowned ecologist and professor, joins IRRI scientists as resource speaker.

Seventeen participants came from all over Asia and two from the United Kingdom—a mix of researchers, extension workers, and students.

 “As a trainee, the course has shown me different parts of the agroecosystem that I have considered before but not had a great deal of knowledge about,” says Richard Smedley, a Ph.D. student on bird ecology. “For example, weeds have always been a consideration in my work but I know very little about them… As a resource person, enthusiastic trainees have approached me with questions about birds, and it really shows how some participants are now considering birds in rice fields, their effects, and the whole ecosystem as a whole.”

The course is on its third offering since 2007. It was organized by the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium and supported with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation through the Closing Rice Yield Gaps in Asia (CORIGAP) project.

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