Submitted to: Weed Science Society of America Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 2002
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Citation: BALCIUNAS, J.K. INCREASING THE SAFETY AND EFFICACY OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF WEEDS: CAN A "CODE OF BEST PRACTICES" HELP?. WEED SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA ABSTRACTS. 2003. p. 60. Technical Abstract: The strategy of reducing impacts of an exotic weed by finding and releasing overseas insects or pathogens to control the plant was first employed in the USA nearly 60 years ago. Although classical biological control of weeds has enjoyed a remarkable record as a safe and benign approach to managing invasive plants, recently ecologists have pointed out some non-target impacts caused by weed biocontrol agents. Since today there are hundreds of agencies and thousands of individuals involved in various aspects of biological control of weeds, there is a need for a set of standards to guide practitioners. In 1999, delegates to the Xth International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds overwhelmingly ratified a ACode of Best Practices for Classical Biological Control of Weeds@. I review the need and benefits provided by the Code, and how the 12 guidelines comprising the Code can help increase safety. The Code emphasizes the need for releasing agents that are not only host specific, but also effective. I present several examples of how the efficacy of a candidate agent can be assessed, prior to it being approved for release in the United States.