The University of Melbourne, Department of Zoology
Research Field: Zoology (Sustainable Agriculture)
Agriculture and land use are major issues in the global environment, and are set to be even larger as we look to feed over 9 billion people in the future. Within Australia, sustainable production of food is a major concern. Farmers are largely reliant on chemicals to control agricultural pests, and this approach can have severe environmental and human health impacts.
Dr. Umina’s research is enabling farmers to achieve a balance between profitability and environmental
sustainability by developing new ways to combat insect pests and finding ways to improve crop yields without harming the environment. These findings have been combined with communication activities and farmer training to assist farmers to reduce chemicals and become sustainable by better understanding their bugs.
Paul has been responsible for a series of communication initiatives to promote sustainable agriculture and extend pest management information to the Australian farming community. Development and delivery of the highly successful electronic newsletter, PestFacts southeastern. This service, which focuses on insect pests, is provided free to farmers, agronomists and consultants across Vic and NSW.
This unique newsletter is a two-way interaction between subscribers and industry personnel. Over 700 field reports have been received and incorporated into PestFacts since 2006. There are presently over 1,000 people subscribed. Paul has also produced numerous industry educational resources. Co-developing a comprehensive manual to manage insect pests, entitled I SPY: Insects of Southern Australian broadacre farming systems. He has produced over 100 technical publications for a variety of industry journals/newsletters, developed over 40 media releases, conducted many radio interviews, delivered approximately 30 industry presentations across Vic, SA, NSW and WA and authored 53 consultancy reports.