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Lessons in developing successful invasive weed control programs
- Anderson, G.L., Delfosse, E.S., Spencer, N.R., Prosser, C.W., Richard, R.D.
- Journal of range management 2003 v.56 no.1 pp. 2
- Euphorbia esula, weed control, integrated pest management, biological control, perennial weeds, USDA, biological control agents, Aphthona, sheep, grazing, botanical composition, chemical control, herbicides, economic impact, cost benefit analysis, ranching, range management, Aphthona nigriscutis, Aphthona lacertosa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming
- The development of successful regional or national invasive weed control programs is often hampered by the way the problem is approached. Typically weed control programs are developed and evaluated solely from the perspective of the biological sciences. While this is appropriate from a local or landscape perspective, it will probably not produce the desired results when addressing widespread well-established infestations that impact large regions. The "Ecological Area-wide Management (TEAM) of Leafy Spurge" program was the first U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) area wide invasive weed program. The 5-year program, funded by the ARS and conducted cooperatively with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, focused on the control of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) in North Dakota and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Now in its final year (2001), the TEAM Leafy Spurge program has made significant progress in controlling leafy spurge, increasing public awareness of the problem and demonstrating the effectiveness of biologically-based integrated pest management. While this is a significant accomplishment, the lessons learned over the course of the project clearly demonstrate that the success of regional weed control programs depends on more than a persistent, marked reduction in the pest population. Effective regional weed control programs need to focus not only on biological issues, but also on the ecological, scientific, economic, social and legal factors that influence the effectiveness of the program. Therefore, the implementation and subsequent evaluation of a weed control program must include all the principal factors that will ultimately determine success and sustainability. This manuscript outlines the history of leafy spurge on the North American continent, the situation currently facing weed managers, and an evaluation of the TEAM Leafy Spurge program's success for each factor listed above. The final analysis indicates that successful biologically-based leafy spurge control is on the horizon, especially when weed managers understand the number of problem areas that must be addressed to achieve a sustained reduction of a weed population. The amount of time it will take to be realized depends on our commitment to solving the problem and our willingness to work together as a cohesive team.