Conceptualizing, categorizing and recording the outcomes of biological control of invasive plant species, at a population level.
Rates of establishment of agents, their population dynamics after release, and measures of the damage they inflict on their target hosts are all useful indicators of progress and success in weed biological control but cannot account for the overall degree and extent of weed biocontrol achievements (i.e. outcomes) at a plant population level. Current conventions that describe weed biocontrol outcomes as 'negligible', 'partial', 'substantial' or 'complete', are often idiosyncratic and imprecise and are inadequate for describing the complexities involved. Using selected examples from South Africa, an extension of the present system is proposed for conceptualizing and categorizing weed biocontrol outcomes more easily; it incorporates four different invasion parameters i.e. density, area, biomass and number of propagules, for different regions and habitats. This approach should help to provide weed biocontrol practitioners with a shared basis for describing, succinctly and with greater precision, the results of their weed biocontrol programs, at a plant population level.