A global review of target impact and direct nontarget effects of classical weed biological control.
Recent reviews show that classical weed biocontrol measures can be successful in reducing the negative impacts of invasive plant species, have impressive returns on investment, and contribute to slower rates of weed spread. Quantitative post-release monitoring is necessary to account for differences in biocontrol outcomes across spatial and temporal scales. Direct nontarget attack (NTA) incidence and severity are decreasing over time, and pre-release host-specificity tests can accurately predict NTA post-release, as long as the nontarget plant species are included in testing. Less than 1% of NTA was found where the impacted plant species had been tested pre-release and was deemed not at risk. Effectiveness and environmental safety will likely further improve with the incorporation of new technologies, such as experimental evolutionary studies.