Effect of Ambrosia artemisiifolia invasion on public health and agricultural production in Hungary
In Hungary, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae, EPPO List of IAP) infests almost 80% of the arable land and has become the most important weed in agricultural crops during the last 20 years.
A. artemisiifolia was first reported as an arable weed during the first half of the 1920s in the South-Transdanubian part of Hungary, introduced from the neighboring parts of the former Yugoslavia. A boom in its spread could be linked to the political transitions which took place in Eastern Europe during the 1980s and 1990s. During that process, virtually all socialist type agricultural co-operatives were closed and their lands subdivided and redistributed to their former owners or descendants, who in many cases did not continue to cultivate them. The large and formerly well-kept agricultural fields were abandoned and quickly colonized by A. artemisiifolia. In addition, new roads, motorways and shopping centres were built, but little co-ordination was put into landscape management. This created large disturbed areas, where the weed readily became established. In less than a decade, A. artemisiifolia became the most widespread weed species in both agricultural and urban areas in Hungary. In 2003, the weed was present on 5.4 million hectares in Hungary, of which 700 000 hectares were heavily infested.
The weed can create dense stands in cereal fields at the time of harvest and continuous ground cover in wheat stubbles. It can cause considerable yield losses, mainly in row crops. It is very harmful in maize, due to its rapid growth. In addition, 25% of the Hungarian population suffer from allergy to its pollen. The highest peak pollen counts in Europe are reported from the Carpathian Basin, Serbia and Hungary. It has also been shown from several studies, that A. artemisiifolia contains allelochemicals which may have important negative effects on artificial and natural ecosystems.
Okumu M N, Lehoczk É (2011) Effect of Ambrosia artemisiifolia invasion on public health and agricultural production in Hungary. In Brunel S, Uludag A, Fernandez-Galiano E, Brundu G (Eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Invasive Plants in the Mediterranean Type Regions of the World, 2010-08-02/06, Trabzon, Turkey pp. 353-365. http://archives.eppo.org/MEETINGS/2010_conferences/ias_trabzon/Proceedings_Trabzon_Workshop.pdf