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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Predicting Garlic Mustard Biocontrol Agent Success with Demographic Modeling

Authors
item Landis, D - MICHIGAN STATE UNIV
item Davis, Adam
item Schemske, D - MICHIGAN STATE UNIV

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: August 26, 2005
Citation: Landis, D.A., Davis, A.S., Schemske, D.W. Predicting garlic mustard biocontrol agent success with demographic modeling. Meeting Proceedings. pp. 7-11.

Interpretive Summary: Garlic mustard is a widespread invasive weed considered to be one of the most harmful exotic invasive plants in North America. It forms dense patches in forests that displace much of the native forest floor community. Conventional controls for garlic mustard have not been successful, leading to increased interest in biocontrol as an option for decreasing the negative impacts of this weed. Because of the danger of biocontrol agents harming native plant species, sound biocontrol practice should avoid introducing multiple control agents when possible. Computer simulation models of plant population dynamics, in combination with biocontrol agent feeding trials in quarantine, provide a new tool for targeting biocontrol strategies to reduce invasive weed populations with minimal risk of harming non-target plant species.

Technical Abstract: Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara and Grande) (Brassicaceae) is a widespread invasive plant considered to be one of the most harmful exotic invasive plants in North America. A native of Europe, A. petiolata invades forested communities where it can displace native herbaceous flora, compete with timber species regeneration, alter litter layer depth and composition, impact mycorrhizal associations and result in cascading ecosystem impacts. Extensive work on conventional controls have failed to yield practical methods for large-scale suppression of garlic mustard, and biological control is viewed by many as the only effective means to manage this plant on landscape scales. However, there is increasing awareness of the non-target impacts of some weed biological control efforts. While recognizing the importance of biocontrol, there has been a call to increase the rigor of these programs and to assure that biocontrol agent guilds have strong impacts on target plants. The challenge for invasive plant biologists is to predict if the likely impacts of a single biocontrol agent or guild of agents are sufficient to result in adequate target suppression across a range of habitats and geographic areas and thus, to justify the risks of an introduction.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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