UC IPM photographs go global
Photographs from the UC IPM's media library are supporting farmer education in Central Asia thanks to the efforts of UC Davis Entomologist Frank Zalom.
While participating in a four-year project to implement IPM in Central Asia, a Swiss agency involved in the project suggested that they develop "IPM pocketbooks" for growers, to be translated into the republic's native language. The pocketbooks would contain technical information about crops and quality photographs.
"Of course, the UC IPM photographs are a tremendous resource, and their value immediately came to mind as a source to help in this effort," said Zalom, who served as director of the UC Statewide IPM Program from 1987 to 2001 before returning to the UC Davis entomology department to conduct research.
Zalom became involved in the project in 2005 through a grant from the US Agency for International Development Cooperative Research and Support Program for IPM, with collaborators at Michigan State University. The breakup of the former Soviet Union created several new republics in Central Asia that are of agricultural significance, as well as military strategic importance because they border Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.
The project's aim is to find more natural enemies of pests to help reduce pest populations and to diversify agricultural land. "We hope to improve the quality of vegetable crops sold in the local market without using a lot of pesticides. If we're successful, it's possible to market the crops regionally, as well, and to diversify the diets of people in the region for longer periods of the year than is now possible," said Zalom.
To date, the group has produced IPM pocketbooks for tomatoes, cucurbits, and apples in Kyrgyzstan. "We've just produced a tomato pocketbook for Tajikistan focusing on problems of importance in that country. We'll probably do more on other crops and, hopefully, in other central Asian republics since they went over so well in Kyrgyzstan."
The bulk of the images in the UC IPM photo collection are the work of retired photographer Jack Kelly Clark, who built a 38-year career with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Clark is best known for his extraordinary images of agricultural pests and beneficial insects that were widely used in IPM manuals and other publications.
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