University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Cross-fertilizing Weed Science and Plant Invasion Science to Improve Efficient Management: a European Challenge

Müller-Schärer, H., Sun, Y., Chauvel, B., Karrer, G., Kazinczi, G., Kudsk, P., Oude Lansink, A.G., Schaffner, U., Skjøth, C. ORCID:, Smith, Matt ORCID:, Vurro, M., de Weger, L.A. and Lommen, S.T. (2018) Cross-fertilizing Weed Science and Plant Invasion Science to Improve Efficient Management: a European Challenge. Basic and Applied Ecology, 33. pp. 1-13. ISSN 1439-1791


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Both weed science and plant invasion science deal with noxious plants. Yet, they have historically developed as two distinct research areas in Europe, with different target species, approaches and management aims, as well as with diverging institutions and researchers involved. We argue that the strengths of these two disciplines can be highly complementary in implementing management strategies and outline how synergies were created in an international, multidisciplinary project to develop efficient and sustainable management of common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia. Because this species has severe impacts on human health and is also a crop weed in large parts of Europe, common ragweed is one of the economically most important plant invaders in Europe. Our multidisciplinary approach combining expertise from weed science and plant invasion science allowed us (i) to develop a comprehensive plant demographic model to evaluate and compare management tools, such as optimal cutting regimes and biological control for different regions and habitat types, and (ii) to assess benefits and risks of biological control. It further (iii) showed ways to reconcile different stakeholder interests and management objectives (health versus crop yield), and (iv) led to an economic model to assess invader impact across actors and domains, and effectiveness of control measures. (v) It also led to design and implement management strategies in collaboration with the various stakeholder groups affected by noxious weeds, created training opportunities for early stage researchers in the sustainable management of noxious plants, and actively promoted improved decision making regarding the use of exotic biocontrol agents at the national and European level. We critically discuss our achievements and limitations, and list and discuss other potential Old World (Afro-Eurasian) target species that could benefit from applying such an integrative approach, as typical invasive alien plants are increasingly reported from crop fields and native crop weeds are invading adjacent non-crop land, thereby forming new source populations for further spread.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: integrated weed management, biological weed control, plant invasion, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, interdisciplinary and international research cooperation
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Carsten Skjoth
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 08:46
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2020 04:00

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