Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGY, MANAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF WEEDY AND INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES IN A CHANGING CLIMATE

Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit

Title: Agricultural weed research: a critique and two proposals

Authors
item Ward, Sarah -
item Cousens, Roger -
item Bagavathiannan, Muthukumar -
item Barney, Jacob -
item Beckie, Hugh -
item Busi, Roberto -
item Davis, Adam
item Dukes, Jeffrey -
item Forcella, Frank
item Freckleton, Robert -

Submitted to: Weed Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 29, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: In recent years, weed research addressing improved management has effectively split into a separate sub-discipline from weed research addressing improved understanding of ecology and biology, despite repeated calls for greater integration. While some excellent work is being done, agricultural weed research has developed a very high level of repetitiveness, a preponderance of purely descriptive studies, and has failed to clearly articulate novel hypotheses linked to established bodies of ecological and evolutionary theory. In contrast, invasive plant research attracts a diverse cadre of non-weed scientists using invasions to explore broader and more integrated biological questions grounded in theory. We propose that while studies focused on weed management remain vitally important, agricultural weed research would benefit from deeper theoretical justification, a broader vision and increased collaboration across diverse disciplines. To initiate change in this direction, we call for a greater number of focused workshops and working groups designed to develop specific areas of research and to encourage interactions among weed scientists and with the wider scientific community.

Technical Abstract: Two broad aims drive weed science research: improved management and improved understanding of weed biology and ecology. In recent years, agricultural weed research addressing these two aims has effectively split into separate sub-disciplines despite repeated calls for greater integration. While some excellent work is being done, agricultural weed research has developed a very high level of repetitiveness, a preponderance of purely descriptive studies, and has failed to clearly articulate novel hypotheses linked to established bodies of ecological and evolutionary theory. In contrast, invasive plant research attracts a diverse cadre of non-weed scientists using invasions to explore broader and more integrated biological questions grounded in theory. We propose that while studies focused on weed management remain vitally important, agricultural weed research would benefit from deeper theoretical justification, a broader vision and increased collaboration across diverse disciplines. To initiate change in this direction, we call for a greater number of focused workshops and working groups designed to develop specific areas of research and to encourage interactions among weed scientists and with the wider scientific community.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page