Ambrosia artemisiifolia in European countries: impacts and management options
The results of an international meeting of experts which took place at the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES) in Vienna (AT) on the 2006-09-27 are presented below.
Experts from the fields of agronomy, botany, ecology, plant protection, and road maintenance from seven European countries gathered for a one-day workshop on Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae, common ragweed, EPPO list of invasive alien plants) to discuss the problems caused by this plant and the availability and effectiveness of control measures. In particular, the experts:
- reported impacts of A. artemisiifolia in several European countries on human health1, plant health and nature conservation,
- expressed their concern about the ongoing spread of the species in Europe,
- urged authorities in countries concerned to prevent further import and spread or to control existing populations,
- gave a set of recommendations for all private or public bodies concerned.
A. artemisiifolia is already common and widespread in several European countries including parts of Hungary, France and Italy. It is still absent from or rare in other parts of Europe but is beginning to spread and become more frequent and abundant, e.g., in parts of Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland. The working group unanimously agreed that rapid action to prevent introduction and further spread is necessary.
In designing a strategy against A. artemisiifolia the following problems arise:
- Impacts on human health and plant protection require a multidisciplinary approach,
- A lack of quality standards for traded seeds (e.g. bird seeds, grain) concerning A. artemisiifolia contamination,
- Control measures are difficult to identify and implement.
Recommendations for the management and control of A. artemisiifolia
Recommended measures against A. artemisiifolia consist of raising awareness, prevention of introduction and further spread, surveillance and control measures (mechanical, chemical and biological control, as well as legal aspects). Application and choice of these measures depend on the level and location of the infestation.
? Ambrosia trifida and A. psilostachya also produce allergenic pollen and may cause problems, but are rare in Europe at the moment. They are not the subject of this paper.
1 Ambrosia trifida and A. psilostachya also produce allergenic pollen and may cause problems, but are rare in Europe at the moment. They are not the subject of this paper.
German Federal Biological Research Centre - Biologische Bundesanstalt für Land- und Forstwirtschaft
Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety - Österreichische Agentur für Gesundheit und Ernährungssicherheit
Neobiota website: http://www.umweltbundesamt.at/neobiota