Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract Full Text

Classical biocontrol of weeds in Europe - are we pushing against an open door?


In September 2013, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. The proposal aims to address the threat of invasive alien species comprehensively, minimising and mitigating their impacts on human health and economies using three types of interventions: prevention; early warning and rapid response; and management. Importantly, the use of biological actions to achieve management is highlighted. There are currently over 12 000 alien species present in Europe and roughly 15% of these are invasive. The proposal draws on the European Union's (EU) 'Resource Efficiency Roadmap' and the EU 'Biodiversity Strategy to 2020' and centres around a black list of invasive alien species of EU concern and is drawn up with Member States using risk assessments and scientific evidence. Unlike some of its trading partners however, the EU currently lacks a comprehensive framework to address the threats posed by invasive alien species. To date there has only been one release of a biological control agent against a weed in Europe, although member countries have been the source for many agents used across the world. In this presentation we review weed biocontrol progress in Europe, the challenges faced and the new, exciting opportunities in the light of these recent regulatory changes, with an evaluation of the most suitable targets for future biocontrol efforts.