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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY AND ECOLOGICALLY BASED KNOWLEDGE FOR INTEGRATED WEED MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Location: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit

Title: Weed science research and funding: a call to action

Authors
item Davis, Adam
item Hall, J Christopher - UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH
item Jasieniuk, Marie - UNIV OF CALIFORNIA-DAVIS
item Locke, Martin
item Luschei, Edward - UNIV OF WISCONSIN
item Mortensen, David - PENNSYLVANIA ST UNIV
item Reichers, Dean - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
item Smith, Richard - PENNSYLVANIA ST UNIV
item Sterling, Tracy - NEW MEXICO ST UNIV
item Westwood, James - VA POLY INST & ST UNIV

Submitted to: Weed Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 13, 2009
Publication Date: July 23, 2009
Citation: Davis, A.S., Hall, J., Jasieniuk, M., Locke, M.A., Luschei, E.C., Mortensen, D.A., Reichers, D.E., Smith, R.G., Sterling, T.M., Westwood, J.H. 2009. Weed Science Research and Funding: A Call to Action. Weed Science. 57(4):442-448.

Interpretive Summary: Weed science as a discipline has had many successes over the years, but its future is in some ways imperiled by its very success. A confluence of factors, including reduced farming system diversity, the widespread adoption of herbicide resistant crops grown in monoculture, a marked slowdown in herbicide discovery by industry, and lack of herbicide rotation has gradually undermined the foundations of weed management. Herbicide resistant weed biotypes are proliferating at the same time that producer knowledge of the fundamentals of weed management is eroding. There is a need for new weed management tools that increase options for the future, and this will require a far better understanding of weed biology and ecology than we currently have. Weed science must not be circumscribed by a narrowly defined set of tools but rather be seen as an integrating discipline. As a means of assessing current and future research interests and funding trends among weed scientists, the Weed Science Society of America conducted an online survey of its members in summer of 2007. There were 304 respondents out of a membership of 1330 at the time of the survey, a response rate of 23%. The largest group of respondents (41%) reported working on research problems primarily focused on herbicide efficacy and maintenance, funded mainly by private industry sources. Another smaller group of respondents (22%) reported focusing on research topics with a complex systems focus (such as invasion biology, ecosystem restoration and ecological weed management), funded primarily by public sources. Increased cooperation between these complementary groups of scientists will be an essential step in making weed science increasingly relevant to the complex vegetation management issues of the 21st century.

Technical Abstract: Weed science has contributed much to agriculture, forestry and natural resource management over its history. However, if it is to remain relevant as a scientific discipline, it is long past time for weed scientists to take a step outside the “herbicide efficacy box” and address system-level issues in vegetation management currently being solved by others. Weed science must not be circumscribed by a narrowly defined set of tools but rather be seen as an integrating discipline. As a means of assessing current and future research interests and funding trends among weed scientists, the Weed Science Society of America conducted an online survey of its members in summer of 2007. There were 304 respondents out of a membership of 1330 at the time of the survey, a response rate of 23%. The largest group of respondents (41%) reported working on research problems primarily focused on herbicide efficacy and maintenance, funded mainly by private industry sources. Another smaller group of respondents (22%) reported focusing on research topics with a complex systems focus (such as invasion biology, ecosystem restoration and ecological weed management), funded primarily by public sources. Increased cooperation between these complementary groups of scientists will be an essential step in making weed science increasingly relevant to the complex vegetation management issues of the 21st century.

Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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