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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT & EVALUATION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS FOR INVASIVE SPECIES THREATENING THE EVERGLADES & OTHER NATURAL AND MANANGED SYSTEMS

Location: Invasive Plant Research Laboratory

Title: Biological control of Melaleuca quinquenervia: goal-based assessment of success

Authors
item Center, Ted
item Pratt, Paul
item Tipping, Philip
item Rayamajhi, Min
item Wright, Susan
item Purcell, Matthew - USDA,ARS, & CSIRO

Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2007
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
Citation: Center, T.D., Pratt, P.D., Tipping, P.W., Rayamajhi, M.B., Wright, S.A., Purcell, M.F. 2008. Biological control of Melaleuca quinquenervia: goal-based assessment of success. International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds. 655-664.

Interpretive Summary: Success means different things to different people. Unfortunately, successes in weed biological control projects are often determined after the fact by non-participants lacking knowledge of the original goals set out by project architects. The Australian tree Melaleuca quinquenervia, which is an aggressive invader of the Florida Everglades, is the largest weed ever targeted for biological control. It was recognized early on that biological control agents would not be able to remove the huge standing biomass that made up the infestations and so would be unlikely to reduce the infested acreage. Control of this plant by other means, however, was complicated by the billions of canopy-held seeds which released upon injury to the tree. A plan was developed in coordination with key land management agencies wherein the goal of biological control was to curtail melaleuca expansion and suppress regeneration while using other means to remove mature trees. Three insect have been released and others are under development. These agents, along with an adventive rust fungus, have met established goals and this project shows clear signs of an emerging success. Criteria for success should match objectives and goals should be clearly articulated so that success can be properly judged.

Technical Abstract: Success means different things to different people. Unfortunately, successes in weed biological control projects are often determined after the fact by non-participants lacking knowledge of the original goals set out by project architects. The Australian tree Melaleuca quinquenervia, which is an aggressive invader of the Florida Everglades, is the largest weed ever targeted for biological control. It was recognized early on that biological control agents would not be able to remove the huge standing biomass that made up the infestations and so would be unlikely to reduce the infested acreage. Control of this plant by other means, however, was complicated by the billions of canopy-held seeds which released upon injury to the tree. A plan was developed in coordination with key land management agencies wherein the goal of biological control was to curtail melaleuca expansion and suppress regeneration while using other means to remove mature trees. Three insect have been released and others are under development. These agents, along with an adventive rust fungus, have met established goals and this project shows clear signs of an emerging success. Criteria for success should match objectives and goals should be clearly articulated so that success can be properly judged.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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