To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) has been a leader in weed science research covering topics ranging from the development and use of integrated weed management (IWM) tactics to basic mechanistic studies, including biotic resistance of desirable plant communities and herbicide resistance. ARS weed scientists have worked in agricultural and natural ecosystems, including agronomic and horticultural crops, pastures, forests, wild lands, aquatic habitats, wetlands, and riparian areas. Through strong partnerships with academia, state agencies, private industry, and numerous federal programs, ARS weed scientists have made contributions to discoveries in the newest fields of robotics and genetics, as well as the traditional and fundamental subjects of weed–crop competition and physiology and integration of weed control tactics and practices. Weed science at ARS is often overshadowed by other research topics; thus, few are aware of the long history of ARS weed science and its important contributions. This review is the result of a symposium held at the Weed Science Society of America’s 62nd Annual Meeting in 2022 that included 10 separate presentations in a virtual Weed Science Webinar Series. The overarching themes of management tactics (IWM, biological control, and automation), basic mechanisms (competition, invasive plant genetics, and herbicide resistance), and ecosystem impacts (invasive plant spread, climate change, conservation, and restoration) represent core ARS weed science research that is dynamic and efficacious and has been a significant component of the agency’s national and international efforts. This review highlights current studies and future directions that exemplify the science and collaborative relationships both within and outside ARS. Given the constraints of weeds and invasive plants on all aspects of food, feed, and fiber systems, there is an acknowledged need to face new challenges, including agriculture and natural resources sustainability, economic resilience and reliability, and societal health and well-being.
Biological control is one of the most common approaches used to manage invasive weeds of wetlands and other natural areas. Before candidate agents can be released, research is conducted to support biological control, which can be protracted and expensive, leading to a scientific and potentially lengthy regulatory review. To increase biological control safety, efficacy, and transparency, we suggest that during the early phases of a weed project, the feasibility of the invasive plant as a target should be studied explicitly. Our purpose here is to summarize information of an important invasive weed that can serve to judge whether the project is appropriate. Chinese tallowtree, Triadica sebifera, is one of the worst invasive species invading coastal wetlands and other riparian areas of the southeastern United States. Current management practices have not controlled the spread of this weed into these sensitive habitats. Initial surveys in the plant's native Chinese range for potential biological control agents have recovered several herbivore species that could be developed. These potential agents include defoliators, root and foliage feeders, and gall formers, whose biology, apparent host specificity, and impacts on plant fitness suggest that biological control offers great promise against Chinese tallowtree. When conducted during the initial phase of a project, this type of feasibility study can address potential conflicts of interest and risks, ultimately producing projects that are more effective and safer for biological control.
We review chemical ecology literature as it relates to biological control of weeds and discuss how this means of controlling invasive plants could be enhanced by the consideration of several well-established research approaches. The interface between chemical ecology and biological control of weeds presents a rich opportunity to exploit potentially coevolved relationships between agents and plants where chemical factors mediating interactions are important. Five topics seem relevant, which if implemented could improve the predictability of host range determination, agent establishment, and impact on the target weed. (1) The host secondary plant chemistry and a potential biological control agent's response to that chemistry can be exploited to improve predictability of potential agent host range. (2) Evolutionary changes may occur in secondary plant chemistry of invasive weeds that have been introduced to novel environments and exposed to a new set of biotic and abiotic stressors. Further, such a scenario facilitates rapid evolutionary changes in phenotypic traits, which in turn may help explain one mechanism of invasiveness and affect the outcome of biological control and other management options. (3) Herbivores can induce production of secondary plant compounds. (4) Variability of weed secondary chemistry which, either constitutive or inducible, can be an important factor that potentially influences the performance of some biological control agents and their impact on the target weed. (5) Finally, sequestration of secondary plant chemistry may protect herbivores against generalist predators, which might improve establishment of a biological control agent introduced to a new range and eventually impact on the target weed. Recognition of these patterns and processes can help identify the factors that impart success to a biological control program.