Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Grasses as suitable targets for classical weed biological control.

Abstract

Grasses are amongst the most abundant and environmentally damaging invasive weeds worldwide. Biological control is frequently employed as a sustainable and cost-effective management strategy for many weeds. However, grasses have not been actively pursued as targets for classical weed biological control due to a perceived lack of sufficiently specialised and damaging natural enemies to use as biological control agents. There are also concerns that the risk posed to economically important crop/pasture species and closely-related native species is too great to consider implementing biological control for invasive grasses. In this paper, we review the literature and demonstrate that grasses can possess suitably host-specific and damaging natural enemies to warrant consideration as potential biological control agents. The risk of grass biological control is no greater than for other weedy taxa if practitioners follow appropriately rigorous risk assessments protocols.