Rodent Outbreaks: Ecology and Impacts

Rats have long been the scourge of smallholder farmers in many rice-growing regions in Asia and throughout the world. In 1990, the International Rice Research Institute held an international workshop simply called “Rats in Rice,” which assembled rodent experts from around the globe. Unfortunately, at that time, most of the experts were retired or about to retire. The senior editor of this book, Grant Singleton, attended that workshop for his first rat meeting and it must have had an impact on him because, within 4 years, he was back in the Philippines, and over the next decade he ventured into Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar, researching the ecology and management of rodent pests. Some 20 years later he organized a second international rodent conference hosted by IRRI, “Impacts of Rodent Outbreaks on Food Security in Asia,” held on 26-28 October 2009. The conference generated much international interest, including an article in Science in February 2010 as part of a special issue on “food security.” The deliberations of the conference have now been captured in this book.

This book is timely because, in recent years, population outbreaks of rodents in the rice-cropping systems of Asia have escalated. There has been precious little formal documentation of the factors that lead to rodent population outbreaks, their impacts, and the successes and failures of management actions, particularly in developing countries. The authors bring together in this publication a more complete picture of rodent outbreaks and their implications. The book examines case studies of the recent rodent outbreaks in Asia with a view to drawing generalities. However an added strength of the book is that it goes beyond the rice ecosystems of Asia and ventures into other ecosystems in Australia, New Zealand, East Africa, Europe, and North America, to allow readers to compare the factors that generate outbreaks of rodent populations on five continents.

Author Grant R. Singleton, Steve R. Belmain, Peter R. Brown, Bill Hardy
Year 2010
Place published Los Banos, Phillipines
Publisher International Rice Research Institute
Pages 289 pp
ISBN/ISSN 978-971-22-0257-5