EWRS Working Group on Invasive Plants
The inaugural meeting of the European Weed Research Society new group on invasive plants took place at the Swiss Agricultural Research Station of Changins on the 2006-02-06 with 23 specialists participating to this meeting (EWRS members, representatives of 17 different institutions of 6 European countries). The following statement was unanimously agreed:
The EWRS Working Group on Invasive Plants will develop an international and interdisciplinary platform dedicated to monitor, study, warn and advise on the management of invasive plant species in Europe. This mission will be achieved through the integration of existing and/or execution of especially designed research taking into account agronomic, environmental, health and economic aspects of plant invasion.
Existing actions and uniqueness of a EWRS-Working Group
One unique point of this Working Group could be that it would facilitate the transfer of knowledge, experiences and know-how, developed by weed scientists in agricultural systems, in order to contribute to solve the issues raised in other areas, particularly environmental weeds. Conversely, experience gained by professionals dealing with environmental weeds, for instance in the biological, ecological and phyto-sociological aspects of plant invasion, can be valuable for agronomists. Another uniqueness of the Working Group could be the development of projects on species or in special habitats. To promote exchanges in the working group, ring trials could be established. Several possibilities were discussed.
Ragweed was the most frequently cited species during all the discussions. Exchanging information and carrying out common experiments could contribute to better management of this plant in infested areas and prevent its spread in other places. Evolution, public health, economy, management control, and information were mentioned as important fields of activity.
Set-asides, ecological surfaces and semi-natural habitats
With the “extensification” of agricultural practices in several places in Europe, new types of areas are emerging in the agricultural landscape (set-asides with the problem of Cirsium). Moreover, management of semi-natural habitats such as pastures is also evolving. These new practices can foster invasive species (e.g. Solidago sp., Senecio sp.). A species monitoring could be helpful.
Woody invasive plants
Several of the most invasive and threatening plants are woody species. Management options and management technologies were mentioned as important topics to work on.
Further priorities were identified which might form foci for interested parties who were not able to attend:
- Knowledge transfer outside intensive cropping (agronomic toolkit). The following terms were discussed: wet lands, still waters, river boards, road sides, parasitic weeds.
- Early detection of plant invaders. As possible fields of activity the introduction pathways (seeds, supermarkets, golf courses) and the possibilities to push legal basis for control of plant invaders were discussed as points of interest.
The next EWRS meeting will take place during the Symposium on invasive plants held in the Azores on 2006-07-17/21.
Contact for Working Group on Invasive Plants
All interested persons are invited to participate. For more information please contact the coordinator:
Coordinator of EWRS - WG on Invasive Plants
Swiss Agricultural Research Station
Agroscope Changins-Wädenswil (ACW)
P.O. Box 1012
CH - 1260 Nyon 1, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 363 44 25
Fax +41 22 363 43 94
Symposium on invasive plants in Ponte Delgada (Azores, Portugal)