Meet the Contributing Authors - David Pimentel

David Pimentel
Professor, Cornell University

photo of David Pimentel


Department of Entomology, Systematics and Ecology
Cornell University
5126 Comstock Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-0901
phone: (607) 255-2212


  • Ph.D. - Cornell University, 1951
  • B.S. - U. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1948

Research Interests

My research is focused on the theoretical and experimental aspects of the population dynamics and coevolution in parasite-host systems. This basic research has led to both theoretical and experimental research on the bio-logical control of pests. My studies have confirmed that selecting parasites and predators that attack related species for introduction and control of the pest species improves biological control successes threefold. Although classical biocontrol has proven effective in the past, my "new association" approach has broadened and improved the strategies available in biological control.

I am also studying the ecological effects of pesticides on natural ecosystems and human health in an effort to improve pesticide effectiveness while reducing the hazards of these agricultural chemicals. By studying the complexities of agricultural ecosystems, I am developing ecological techniques to insure sound management of soil, water, energy, and biological resources so vital to a sustainable food system.

As an agricultural ecologist, I am investigating energy flows in the agriculture and food systems. This research has focused on the more efficient use of fossil energy in agricultural production to make agriculture sustainable.

Current research projects in my laboratory include theoretical and experimental investigations of parasite-host population dynamics and evolution; theoretical and experimental investigations of biological control of pests in agriculture; energy flows in agricultural and food systems and biomass energy systems; and ecological resource management in agriculture to reduce pesticide effects, soil erosion, rapid water runoff, and protect natural biota for a sustainable agriculture.

Selected Publications

  • Pimentel, D. (ed.) 1991. Handbook of Pest Management in Agriculture. Vols. I-III. 2nd ed. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 765 pp., 757 pp., 749 pp.
  • Pimentel, D. & H. Lehman, eds. 1993. The Pesticide Question: Environment, Economics, and Ethics. Chapman & Hall, NY. 441 pp.
  • Pimentel, D., C. Harvey, P. Resosudarmo, K. Sinclair, D. Kurtz, M. McNair, S. Crist, L. Spritz, L. Fitton, R. Saffouri & R. Blair. 1995. Environmental and Economic Costs of Soil Erosion and Conservation Benefits. Science 267: 1117-1123.
  • Pimentel, D., G. Rodrigues, T. Wang, R. Abrams, K. Goldberg, H. Staecker, E. Ma, L. Brueckner, L. Trovato, C. Chow, U. Govindarajulu & S. Boerke. 1994. Renewable energy: Economic and Environmental Issues. BioScience 44 (8): 536-547.
  • Pimentel, D., R. Harman, M. Pacenza, J. Pecarsky, and M. Pimentel. 1994. Natural resources and an optimum human population. Population and Environment 15 (5): 347-369.