John Mumford completed a BS degree in Entomology at the College of Agriculture, Purdue University in 1974 and subsequently worked in a reseach programme of the Indiana Agricultural Extension Service on forage pest management. From 1975-1978 he was a Marshall Scholar at Imperial College London, receiving a PhD in Applied Entomology. He worked in New Zealand as a Research Fellow at Lincoln University, jointly in Entomology and Agricultural Economics, and became an academic at Imperial College London in 1979. He was initially a member of the Biology Department at Imperial College London and since 1994 has been a senior member of an evolving series of Environment departments in the College - currently as Professor of Natural Resource Management in the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP).
Research has covered many aspects of economic interest related to pest, food and biosecurity, fisheries and environmental risk management and international development, with a strong emphasis on work in developing countries. The work currently falls into three general areas:
- Risk and economic analyses of exotic organisms, including agricultural quarantine, invasive species and intentional releases/bioterrorism
- Uncertainty affectiong fisheries management
- Risk analysis and economic analysis for novel technologies in pest control, such as sterile insect technique and genetically modified insects
Major project areas have included work with the cocoa industries in Malaysia and Indonesia; locusts and cotton pests in Africa; fruit fly pests in Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia, South Asia and the Mediterranean Basin; quarantine and biosecurity policy in Europe, USA, New Zealand, SE Asia and with the FAO; invasive species risk analysis in Great Britain and SE Asia; and the regulation of genetically modified insects with WHO, FNIH and EFSA. Issues to do with how management programmes face risks in the environment are of particular interest, and this has involved the extension of risk management analyses from pests to other environmental problems such as radiation decontamination and fisheries management.
Photo: Quarantine policy research has helped the US Department of Agriculture conduct efficient risk assessments to determine appropriate preventative and responsive management for exotic pests (for example, the Emerald Ash Borer affecting trees in the US midwest is spread in cut timber and firewood).
Methods to estimate and communicate risks are needed in pest risk assessment and in planning area-wide management programmes. Several projects have developed quantitative models and other representations of spatial-temporal risk and benefit/cost projections related to management of pests in agriculture and the natural environment. An important tool developed in these projects provides an area-based estimate (€/ha) of the environmental, social and health impacts of pesticides used in insect control programmes, which has been applied to locust control in W Africa with FAO.
Photo: External (indirect) environmental and health cost estimates produced for FAO for the 2003-2005 locust control campaign on a 25 sq km spatial grid in Senegal - total costs estimated at approximately €8 million.
Entomology has been a common entry point into wider environmental problems, with insects being central to risks to agricultural production, human and animal health, and damage to natural ecosystems through pest invasions. Insects are managed on a range of scales, from individuals exercising immediate local control to regional area-wide programmes and long-term international regulation, which requires an understanding of complex social, economic and policy interactions to apply sound principles of ecology and economics. Broad interests have been reflected in the supervision of very diverse MSc and PhD students on topics ranging from fuelwood management, strategic environmental assessment, and agricultural policy, to oil pipeline risks and environmental management systems for businesses. A common theme is the establishment of analytical frameworks that can incorporate quantitative spatial and temporal inputs along with management or policy objectives.
Photo: The IAEA Model Business Plan for Sterile Insect Production Facilities sets out principles for planning capital investment and operational costs in both large and small-scale sterile insect control programmes.
Current projects include DROPSA, an EC Framework 7 projects investigating risks and improved management of horticultural pests in Europe; risk analysis for novel mosquito vector control with FNIH/Gates Foundation; and the continual development of improved risk assessment methods for invasive species management in Great Britain through work with the English, Scottish and Welsh governments, and the Food and Environment Research Agency. The EC Framework 7 project MYFISH investigated variants on Maximum Sustainable Yield as targets for fisheries management. The EC Framework 7 project PLANTFOODSEC developed integrated risk analysis methods to assess security threats from plant pests alongside risks related to normal agricultural trade and travel. A BBSRC funded project called UNPICK is exploring the public understanding of tree health issues in Britain. Two EC Horizon2020 projects, EMPHASIS and EUCLID, on pest risk and management involve the development of indicators and an anlytical framework for new pest management technology implementation.
et al., 2016, The MSY concept in a multi-objective fisheries environment - Lessons from the North Sea, Marine Policy, Vol:69, ISSN:0308-597X, Pages:146-158
et al., 2016, The economic value of environmental data: a notional insurance scheme for the European anchovy, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Vol:73, ISSN:1054-3139, Pages:1033-1041
et al., 2016, A Regional Decision Support Scheme for Pest Risk Analysis in Southeast Asia, Risk Analysis, Vol:36, ISSN:0272-4332, Pages:904-913
et al., 2014, Identification and prioritization of uncertainties for management of Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), Marine Policy, Vol:48, ISSN:0308-597X, Pages:84-92
et al., 2013, Economic and Environmental Impacts of Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in Southeast Asia, PLOS One, Vol:8, ISSN:1932-6203
et al., 2010, Comprehensive bioeconomic modelling of multiple harmful non-indigenous species, Ecological Economics, Vol:69, ISSN:0921-8009, Pages:1303-1312
et al., 2012, A protocol for analysing the costs and benefits of phytosanitary measures*, Bulletin OEPP, Vol:42, ISSN:0250-8052, Pages:81-88
et al., 2014, Eliciting and Combining Decision Criteria Using a Limited Palette of Utility Functions and Uncertainty Distributions: Illustrated by Application to Pest Risk Analysis, Risk Analysis, Vol:34, ISSN:0272-4332, Pages:4-16
Mumford JD, 2013, Biosecurity management practices: Determining and delivering a response, Biosecurity: the socio-politics of invasive species and infectious diseases, Editor(s): Dobson, Barker, Taylor, United Kingfom, Earthscan, Pages:105-119, ISBN:978-0-415-53477-2
et al., 2015, Best practices for the provision of prior information for Bayesian stock assessment, . ICES Cooperative Research Report No 328, Copenhagen, Denmark, ICES