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item Balciunas, Joseph

Submitted to: XI Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2003
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Balciunas, J.K. 2004. Four years of 'code of best practices': is biocontrol of weeds less risky,and receiving greater acceptance? In: Proceedings of the XI Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds. April 27-May 2, 2003, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australia. p.258-260.

Interpretive Summary: The practice and theory of biological control is coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism, not only from members of the public, but also from concerned ecologists and entomologists. Many of the criticisms leveled against biological control in general, do not apply to the subdiscipline of classical biological control of weeds, which without doubt, has the best record for safety and ecological responsibility. This does not mean,however, that all of the criticisms lack merit, and that we need not make any modifications in our strategies and procedures. The twelve guidelines in the "International Code of Best Practices for Classical Biological Control of Weeds", if strictly adhered to, will assure that this subdiscipline is driven by the latest scientific information, is responsive to user groups and concerned ecologists, as well as the public. As the guidelines in this Code of Best Practices become widely adopted by those involved in classical biological control of weeds, this subdiscipline should receive increased support and endorsement from a wide array of ecologists, as well as administrators, politicians and the general public.

Technical Abstract: In 1999, during the Xth International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds in Bozeman Montana, the delegates overwhelmingly voted to adopt the "Code of Best Practices for Classical Biological Control of Weeds". I reviewed why the Code was proposed, and then reviewed the attention [or lack thereof] that this 'Code' has received from those within the biological control of weeds community, and from other scientific observers of our craft. I also present the results of a short questionnaire on experiences with the code that was circulated during this Symposium in Canberra. It is clear that although a few individuals have found the Code important and useful, the majority of those involved in biological control of weeds have been unaffected by it, and that many are even unaware of its existence. However, a small number of individuals continue to cite the Code, and to popularize its existence and utility. It is hoped that, with additional time, the number of practitioners who recognize the value of having the Code will increase.