Skip to main content Accessibility help

Weed Science Research and Funding: A Call to Action

  • Adam S. Davis (a1), J. Christopher Hall (a2), Marie Jasieniuk (a3), Martin A. Locke (a4), Edward C. Luschei (a5), David A. Mortensen (a6), Dean E. Riechers (a7), Richard G. Smith (a6), Tracy M. Sterling (a8) and James H. Westwood (a9)...


Weed science has contributed much to agriculture, forestry and natural resource management during its history. However, if it is to remain relevant as a scientific discipline, it is long past time for weed scientists to move beyond a dominating focus on herbicide efficacy testing and address the basic science underlying complex issues in vegetation management at many levels of biological organization currently being solved by others, such as invasion ecologists and molecular biologists. Weed science must not be circumscribed by a narrowly-defined set of tools but rather be seen as an integrating discipline. As a means of assessing current and future research interests and funding trends among weed scientists, the Weed Science Society of America conducted an online survey of its members in summer of 2007. There were 304 respondents out of a membership of 1330 at the time of the survey, a response rate of 23%. The largest group of respondents (41%) reported working on research problems primarily focused on herbicide efficacy and maintenance, funded mainly by private industry sources. Another smaller group of respondents (22%) reported focusing on research topics with a complex systems focus (such as invasion biology, ecosystem restoration, ecological weed management, and the genetics, molecular biology, and physiology of weedy traits), funded primarily by public sources. Increased cooperation between these complementary groups of scientists will be an essential step in making weed science increasingly relevant to the complex vegetation management issues of the 21st century.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Booth, B. D. and Swanton, C. J. 2002. Assembly theory applied to weed communities. Weed Sci. 50:213.
Buhler, D. D. 2002. Challenges and opportunities for integrated weed management. Weed Sci. 50:273280.
Catford, J. A., Jansson, R., and Nilsson, C. 2009. Reducing redundancy in invasion ecology by integrating hypotheses into a single theoretical framework. Divers. Distrib. 15:2240.
Davis, A. S. 2007. Report on WSSA Research and Funding Priorities. CSREES Stakeholder Workshop. Alexandria, VA.
Gotelli, N. J. and Ellison, A. M. 2004. A Primer of Ecological Statistics. Sunderland, MA Sinauer Associates. 150 p.
Hall, J. C., Van Eerd, L. L., Miller, S. D., Owen, M. D. K., Prather, T. S., Shaner, D. L., Singh, M., Vaughn, K. C., and Weller, S. C. 2000. Future research directions for weed science. Weed Technol. 14:647658.
Liebman, M. and Davis, A. S. 2000. Integration of soil, crop and weed management in low-external-input farming systems. Weed Res. 40:2747.
Liebman, M. and Dyck, E. 1993. Weed management: a need to develop ecological approaches. Ecol. Appl. 3:3941.
Martinez-Ghersa, M. A., Ghersa, C. M., and Satorre, E. H. 2000. Coevolution of agricultural systems and their weed companions: implications for research. Field Crops Res. 67:181190.
Mortensen, D. A., Bastiaans, L., and Sattin, M. 2000. The role of ecology in the development of weed management systems: an outlook. Weed Res. 40:4962.
[NEWSS] Northeastern Weed Science Society 2009. Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Weed Science Society. Baltimore, MD NEWSS. 250 p.
Norris, R. F. 1999. Ecological implications of using thresholds for weed management. Pages 3158. In Buhler, D. D. Expanding the Context of Weed Management. New York Haworth.
Radosevich, S. R. and Ghersa, C. M. 1992. Weeds, crops, and herbicides—a modern-day neckriddle. Weed Technol. 6:788795.
Rea, L. M. and Parker, R. A. 1997. Designing and conducting survey research. San Francisco, CA Jossey-Bass Publishers. 254 p.
Shaw, D. 2005. Report on WSSA Research and Funding Priorities. CSREES Stakeholder Workshop. Alexandria, VA.
Smith, R. G., Maxwell, B. D., Menalled, F. D., and Rew, L. J. 2006. Lessons from agriculture may improve the management of invasive plants in wildland systems. Front. Ecol. Environ. 4:428434.
Wyse, D. L. 1992. Future of weed science research. Weed Technol. 6:162165.
Zimdahl, R. L. 2004. Weed–Crop Competition: A Review. Oxford, UK Blackwell Publishing. 220 p.
Zimdahl, R. L. 1991. Weed Science: A Plea for Thought. Washington, DC U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research Service. 34 p.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed