Biological Control of Alien Invasive Plants

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The scientific field of the biological control of alien invasive plants (AIP) has developed rapidly over the last 100 years in various countries (Morin et al. 2013) but, are some countries performing better than others? Biological control looks to diminish the negative consequences of alien invasive plants. For example, biological control reduces alterations of biotic and abiotic processes produced by AIP occurring within the ecosystem (Richardson and van Wilgen 2004). Major sites of invasion like the United States of America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have therefore been at the forefront of scientific progress in the field of biological control (Julien and Griffiths 1998; Cock et al. 2010). Interestingly, scientific advancement in the field has been a product of connected but distinct histories and conditions (Palmer et al. 2010). Alien invasive plants have influenced the natural environmental systems through the loss of biodiversity as well as economic loss in both South Africa and Australia with various introductions and subsequent naturalisations (Groves 2002; Morin et al. 2005; Morin et al. 2013).This paper will aim to provide an overview comparison of the major differences between the Australian and South African scientific field of biological control of alien invasive plants. The scientific field will be defined here as all the components within the practise of biological control as well as the sub-disciplines that may affect the practise although these sub-disciplines (eg. Legislation) will not be focused on to the same degree. Components of the scientific discipline such as general differences, successes and failures, biological techniques and innovations, agent selection, host specificity testing,... ... middle of paper ... ... simulated herbivory to predict the efficacy of a biocontrol agent: the effect of manual defoliation and Macaria pallidata Warren (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) herbivory on Mimosa pigra seedlings. Australian Journal of Entomology 45:324-326. Witkowski, E. T. F. and Garner, R. D. 2008. Seed production, seed bank dynamics, resprouting and long-term response to clearing of the alien invasive Solanum mauritianum in a temperate to subtropical riparian ecosystem. South African Journal of Botany 74:476-484. Zimmerman, H. G. and Neser, S. 1999. Trends and prospects for biological control of weeds in South Africa. African Entomology Memoir 1:165-173. Zimmermann, H. G., Moran, V. C. and Hoffmann, J. H. 2004. Biological control in the management of invasive alien plants in South Africa, and the role of the Working for Water programme. South African Journal of Science 100:34-40.

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