Conclusions

Although tremendous advances in insect modeling have been made, improving our understanding of the complex ecosystem is still needed. This requires physiological research and additional field studies to evaluate the models. Insect/pest models, like other models, must be field-tested using experimental data representing a broad range of spatial and temporal conditions. In the future, coupling the basic practices of experimental observation and data collection with insect model development will result in increased understanding of IPM for biological ecosystems. The fact that models provide a means for organizing complex systems should result in greater cooperation among the various scientific disciplines (e.g., ecology, entomology) involved.

Finally, new insect models and modeling approaches will be required to test hypotheses and arrive at new IPM strategies providing an overall balance of cost versus benefit. The long-term security of global food supply in part depends on scientists providing decision support tools such as insect models that will help ensure the continuation of efficient (and sustainable) agricultural production. While many important challenges and opportunities exist in insect model development, the greatest challenge facing the practitioners of insect modeling in the future may center on demonstrating relevance to real-world IPM issues rather than on building more accurate or comprehensive models.

See also: Agriculture Models; Conservation Biological Control and Biopesticides in Agricultural; Sensitivity, Calibration, Validation, Verification; Visualization and Interaction Design for Ecosystem Modeling; Xenobiotic (Pesticides, PCB, Dioxins) Cycles.

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