Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

An alternative perspective for the theory of biological control.

Abstract

Importation biological control represents the planned introduction of a specialist natural enemy from the region of origin of an invasive pest or weed. For this study, the author considered why attempts to develop a predictive theory for biological control have been misguided and what future directions might be more promising and effective. Despite considerable interest in the theory of consumer-resource population dynamics, such theory has contributed little to improvements in the success of biological control due to a focus on persistence and equilibrium dynamics rather than establishment and impact. A broader consideration of invasion biology in addition to population ecology offers new opportunities for a more inclusive theory of biological control that incorporates the demographic and genetic processes that more specifically address the establishment and impact of introduced natural enemies. The importance of propagule size and genetic variance for successful establishment, and of contributions to host population growth, relative population growth rates, interaction strength, and coevolution for suppression of host abundance are discussed as promising future directions for a theory of biological control.