Submitted to: Weed Science Society of America Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/28/2008
Publication Date: 11/18/2008
Citation: Davis, A.S., Brainard, D.C., Gallandt, E.R. 2008. Invasive Plant Species and the New Bioeconomy. Weed Science Society of America Meeting Proceedings. 56:866. Interpretive Summary: Deployment of exotic plant species for biofuel production in the U.S. highlights the benefits and risks associated with the new bioeconomy. Given the negative impacts of plant invasions, the large financial incentives to grow biofuel species, and the potential role of bioenergy crops in mitigating the global rise in atmospheric CO2, there is an urgent need for science-based approaches to reducing the risks of dispersing such species at landscape and regional scales. The central activity of this project was to conduct a symposium on "Invasive plant species and the new bioeconomy". The objective of this symposium was to encourage the wider use of risk-benefit analyses of biofuel, and other bioeconomy, species by alerting professional weed scientists and invasion biologists to this important, emerging research area and providing them with a scientific starting point for further study.
Technical Abstract: Simulation models of management effects on weed demography and the experience of successful organic and low-external-input farmers point in the same direction: long-term weed management success depends on diversified strategies that attack multiple weed life stages. In an era of declining research budgets, modeling analyses can help target limited research funds and personnel at those empirical questions that are most critical. One area identified by both models and farmer groups as in need of greater research is weed seed bank ecology. Perturbation analysis of demographic models highlights seed bank persistence as the greatest driver of population growth rate in annual weed species, and farmer adages such as "One year's seeding, seven years weeding..." indicate the importance of reducing seed return. Yet few management tactics target weed seeds, and the factors controlling weed seedbank persistence remain largely unexplored. Ongoing work at the USDA-ARS Invasive Weed Management Unit in Urbana, IL, explores seed, soil and microbiological factors contributing to persistence of seeds in the soil seed bank. An ongoing dialog between empirical and theoretical approaches will aid further progress in this area.