Biological control of weeds is based on the exploitation of natural enemies and offers an environmentally benign, sustainable and cost-effective approach for weed control. Such approach is complementary to currently implemented control strategies and lends itself to being part of an integrated management strategy. In Europe the use of biological control in weed management has recently gathered moment with a number of European countries actively pursuing research into and implementation of this method.
As some might recall a Working Group on Biological Control under the framework of EWRS formally existed until 2016. However, its activities have very much ceased since 2013 resulting in this important research area currently not being covered within the Society. Hence an initiative to re-establish this working group is currently under way. It is planned that the scope of the group will include all aspects of weed biological control ranging from classical, inundative/augmentative and conservation to botanicals and plant-based products as well as mycoherbicides and mycotoxins.
A revived working group on biological control will promote biological control as an environmentally safe method of weed control and as part of an integrated weed management strategy. Thereby it will allow the EWRS to remain at the forefront with developments in this alternative weed management strategy. The working group will provide a platform for group members to collaborate on all aspects of biological weed control and by complementing other EWRS working groups (i.e. invasive alien plants, sustainable use of herbicides and physical and cultural weed control) it will offer ample scope for collaboration. A designated working group on biological control will also actively engage the EWRS with the “One Health” concept, the “EU Green Deal” as well as a currently anticipated COST Action on Biocontrol and Invasive Alien Species. Additionally, it would support current efforts to advance and harmonize legislative and regulatory processes concerning biological control in Europe.
In order to pursue the re-establishment of the biological control working group a one day kick-off meeting is planned in Aveiro, Portugal on the 15 September 2023. Although independent the kick-off meeting will take advantage of the preceding IOBC meeting “Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological control agents” held at the same location from 11-14 September (https://brebca2023.web.ua.pt) in order to facilitate synergies between the two events, i.e. allowing participants to attend both meetings.
The current anticipated structure of the kickoff meeting is for overview talks to be presented during the morning. These will cover the concepts of biological control through presentations on the use of insects and fungal pathogens as classical agents, as well as the use of herbicides based on microbes and derivatives of microbes and plants. Each talk will also highlight presently ongoing activities worldwide and in Europe as well as the institutions and researchers involved in Europe. The afternoon will be dedicated to short presentations from attendees as well as administrative issues; cf. the attached Preliminary Programme.
The organizers welcome all interested individuals to attend the kick-off meeting.
There will be no registration fee, but individuals are required to register their attendance by 31July 2023; cf. Registration Form at (https://forms.gle/
Coffee and lunch will be provided by EWRS free of charge. All attendees will need to arrange their own travel and hotel accommodation; however, in line with the IOBC meeting a reduced accommodation fee has been negotiated for the hotels Imperial, Alfonso V, Aveiro Center and Jardim for Thursday and Friday night (14-15th September) when mentioning BREBCA2023.
Links to these hotels and travel information can be found on the respective website https://brebca2023.web.ua.pt. We are looking forward to seeing you in Aveiro in September.
For further inquiries please contact Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aveiro, Portugal (picture https://viva-mundo.com/)