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CAB Review

Weed biological control in the Greater Mekong Subregion: status and opportunities for the future.

Abstract

The status of weed biological control in the six Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries was assessed, and opportunities to develop biological control in the region are proposed. Twenty biological control agents targeting nine weed species have been introduced into GMS countries, with 13 agents establishing on seven weed species. Another nine biological control agents have spread unintentionally into the region. These agents are having a slight to high impact on their target weeds. However, the number of weeds in the region that have been targeted for biological control is only a fraction of the number of weeds (45) in the region that have been targeted for biological control elsewhere. This presents a tremendous opportunity to expand weed biological control in the region and reduce the dependency on herbicides while increasing productivity. There are numerous highly effective biological control agents present elsewhere that could be introduced to assist with the management of the region's most important weeds, such as Pistia stratiotes, Salvinia molesta, Chromolaena odorata and Mikania micrantha. Along with the introduction of biological control agents, there is also a scope to increase the capacity and training in biological control within GMS countries to develop effective weed control and management.