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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Animal population ecology and control fundamentals

  • Author(s): Watt, Kenneth E. F.
  • et al.

The difficulty in controlling a pest population is discussed in terms of population modeling theory, in which populations tend to move toward a stable equilibrium. Pest control operations elicit a populational homeostatic mechanism, as well as genetic and physiological homeostatic mechanisms. This demonstrates why pest populations are not exterminated by decades of intensive control of traditional types. What is needed is some self-accelerating method of control that forces the population toward an unstable equilibrium point; new genetic and biological control techniques can provide such effects. Examples are provided of new thinking about population control techniques that exploit the weaknesses in biological mechanisms.

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