U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

August 2007


Witmer, G. 2007. The ecology of vertebrate pests and integrated pest management (IPM). Pages 393-41 0 In: M. Kogan and P. Jepson, eds. Perspectives in Ecological Theory and Integrated Pest Management. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


Across the world, vertebrates cause considerable annual damage to agriculture, property, human health and safety, and natural resources. Although some species of all vertebrate groups have been implicated in damage, the species most often involved in serious amounts of damage are birds and mammals. Agroecosystems have provided many new opportunities for vertebrates to exploit, resulting in their becoming serious "pests" with humans taking various steps to protect their agricultural resources. This conflict has intensified as the human population has increased, efforts to get more production out of traditional croplands have intensified, and marginal lands have been placed into crop production. Additionally, as the human population has increased, people have moved into lands occupied by wildlife, resulting in more human-wildlife encounters and conflicts.