Karl Suiter, Yulu Xia, Kevin Bigsby, Godshen Pallipparambil, Jaap van Kretschmar, Roger Magarey, Jim VanKirk, Danesha Seth Carley and Frank Louws (Director) have worked as a team to establish the National Science Foundation Center for Integrated Pest Management (CIPM) as the most respected source of information for predicting and mitigating the risks of exotic plant pests. Their databases and hierarchical decision-making processes facilitate USDAAPHIS initial responses and provide support for decisions on the use of resources to limit exotic pests. This work is complemented with crop security work through national, regional and statewide IPM programs.
CIPM works closely with USDA APHIS to conceive and implement best management strategies to develop and deploy information systems that support critical objectives of the USDA, states and foreign cooperators to prevent introduction of invasive pathogens and pests. These systems collect and disseminate information about pre-emergent or newly emergent invasives. To support these systems, CIPM hosts a USDA-certified information network that has gone through Phase I and Phase II Security Assessment and Authorization accreditation (SA&A). CIPM personnel survey global publications about potentially invasive or exotic pests and design an internationally utilized database, Pestlens.info, which functions as an early warning system to inform safeguarding decisions. Selected exotic pests are further ranked through a Pest Prioritization pipeline based on their impact potential and likelihood of introduction in the United States through the creation of an advanced data-driven objective model for pest ranking, with innovative input from CIPM databases and personnel in close collaboration with APHIS. CIPM provides innovative leadership for the design and management of major regulatory systems and products including: i) the Global Pest and Disease Database (GPDD.info) designed to support Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) programs and by interacting with APHIS leaders. The database contains 5622 pests of national concern with 842,820 curated records and references from a wide range of sources pertaining to pest taxonomy, identification, biology, distribution, hosts, known impact, detection and IPM options. The GPDD currently engages 2761 .gov regular users (APHIS, DHS, USDA, State regulators), many who make real-time decisions on PPQ and pest management issues; ii) New Pest Response Guidelines (n=18) – comprehensive documents that enable rapid identification, sampling, response and mitigation measures to prevent or contain invasive pests; iii) the Phytosanitary Alert System (pestalert.org) with over 3000 users and designed for official pest reporting for the North American Protection Organization to facilitate awareness, detection, prevention and management of exotic pests. Nominated CIPM managers and their personnel work closely with APHIS and other partners using the GPDD and other sources to perform Risk Analysis and Risk Mapping. They develop or modify models that link risk analysis with national economic impacts and design tools to map layers of risk potential of exotic pests entering the country, pathways of introduction, climate suitability, geographic host range and other critical data to portray spatial data to support actions and decisions of key partners and programs. Nominated personnel provide leadership to develop Pest Information Data Sheets designed to prevent foreign pest introduction on plants not authorized pending pest risk analysis (NAPPRA), while minimizing adverse economic and trade impacts. International research interests focus on understanding the biology, ecology, and management techniques of (e.g.) Asian Citrus Psyllid, citrus greening, fruit flies, and other pests of phytosanitary importance. Working with trade partners, systematic surveys, focused research projects and translation of research outcomes has advanced shared knowledge subsequently extended to the US citrus industry and international partners for mutual pest management and trade benefits.
Innovative tools and practices to protect the borders are complemented with a continuum of programs to enhance crop security within the borders. CIPM houses the Southern IPM (SIPM; sripmc.org; ipmSOUTH.com) program, one of four regional centers in the USA. SIPM promotes and facilitates multi-state collaboration; engages diverse stakeholders to address regional priorities; manages a Regulatory Information Network that facilitates feedback on regulatory (EPA) decisions; distributes project funds regionally to advance IPM programs in the South, including rapid response needs to address new or emerging invasive pathogens and pests (e.g. laurel wilt; spotted wing drosophila); and organizes or otherwise facilitates regional working groups e.g. school IPM, small farms IPM, and ornamentals IPM. CIPM also designs, develops and maintains national IPM websites (ipm.gov) and the national database of Crop Profiles and Pest Management Strategic Plans (ipmcenters.org/crop profiles) to advance crop security outcomes.
Since 2006, CIPM has led grants totaling $12M to facilitate and provide scientific and fiscal leadership for components of the IPM Pest Information Platform for Education and Extension (ipmPIPE), entailing projects and collaborators in almost all of the lower 48 states addressing Asian soybean rust, soybean aphid, cucurbit downy mildew, and multiple pests of pecan, legumes, and onion. Impact of the soybean rust PIPE alone is estimated as high as $200 million annually. More recently CIPM provides leadership with Penn State on the industry Pest Information Platform (iPiPE), an inter-disciplinary AFRI Food Security Grant and national program that links public and private interests toward national food security and provides stakeholders with tools and models for managing emerging pest threats. They also enhance food security through leadership in national IPM research and extension programs. For example, CIPM provides management and program leadership for the USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) project that includes 8 institutions and over 48 private companies. This project has advanced innovative technologies for development, storage and distribution of grafted plants and optimized utilization of grafted plants in soil production systems complemented with economic decision tools for stakeholders (vegetablegrafting.org). Several new companies have emerged to produce plants and grafted plant use has expanded in the home-owner retail market and organic and conventional fruiting vegetable systems nation-wide. CIPM is also engaged in crop security at the state level: CIPM provides leadership to coordinate the USDA Extension IPM competition to implement statewide impacts in IPM extension (ipm.ces.ncsu.edu) including infrastructure capacity to respond to new or invasive pests.