Although many IPM practitioners aspire to implement third-level IPM, the most advanced form remains largely in an embryonic state of development. Emphasis is on using principles and practices of second-level IPM in harmony with all other elements that affect long-term productivity or well-being of an ecosystem. Such elements include sound horticultural or husbandry practices (for agriculture), sound forest management (for silviculture), and sound community health practices (for villages or subunits of cities). Third-level IPM features attention to environmental and societal costs and benefits in the making of pest management decisions. The focal ecosystem may be an entity no larger than a community, as considered under second-level IPM, or it could be an entity as extensive as an ecological region. For crops, third-level IPM is roughly synonymous with the concept of integrated crop management. It is not, however, synonymous with organic agriculture, which disallows some materials and practices acceptable under third-level IPM.

Spearheaded by P. E. Kenmore, an approach has been developed for growing rice in developing parts of Asia that reflects many of the tenets of third-level IPM. This approach acccentuates societal contribution to the IPM decision-making process. It involves weekly gatherings of small groups of rice farmers, accompanied by experienced pest management personnel, who jointly conduct agroecosystem observations, engage in data analysis, and consider local ecosystem structure, environmental health, and a range of immediate and long-term tactics before making pest management decisions. This process has resulted in dramatic increases in awareness by entire communities of an advanced form of IPM and often dramatic decreases in use of pesticides on rice. It stands in contrast to modes of decision making and levels of popular awareness characteristic of less advanced forms of IPM implementation in many developed countries, where it is commonplace for farmers to make IPM decisions either acting alone or at most interacting with a private consultant, government extension representative, or employee of a pesticide distributor.

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