Re-establishment of the EWRS Working Group on Biological Control

Re-establishment of the EWRS Working Group on Biological Control

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 ( 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 (

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 We are looking forward to seeing you in Aveiro in September.

For further inquiries please contact Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer:

Preliminary programme

Aveiro, Portugal

Aveiro, Portugal (picture

Free IRS membership for Ukrainian scientists

Free IRS membership for Ukrainian scientists

IRS board has decided that IRS membership would be free for Ukrainian scientists for the period 2023-2024!

How to proceed?

  • please go on the membership form
  • fill in all the requested information and check the “IRS – membership 0 € (Ukrainian scientists only)
  • when it is asked to upload a proof of bank transfer, please upload instead an official document indicating that you are affiliated with an Ukrainian Institution/Establishment


IRS reiterates its strong support to Ukrainian people.


Interdisciplinary Ambrosia Workshop from Julius Kühn-Instituts 2023 – online

Interdisciplinary Ambrosia Workshop from Julius Kühn-Instituts 2023 – online

The Julius Kühn Institute organize an interdisciplinary Ambrosia workshop on 15th of February 2023. You can follow the workshop online (German language).

If you are interested, please contact Uwe Starfinger:

Here is the program of the workshop:

09:30-10:00 – Begrüßung durch Bernhard C. Schäfer/Uwe Starfinger/Malaika Herbst

Internationale Tätigkeiten

10:00-10:15 – Bericht zu internationalen Entwicklungen  Uwe Starfinger

Erfahrungen aus Österreich

10:15-11:15 – Erfahrungen mit dem Burgenländischen Ragweed Bekämpfungsgesetz, Kristina Plenk, VBNO

11:15-11:45 – Ausbreitungsdynamik und Bekämpfung von Ambrosia entlang von Straßen, Rea Maria Hall, BOKU Wien

12:00-13:00 – Mittagspause

Situation in den Bundesländern

13:00-13:20 – Situation und Maßnahmenprogramm Ambrosia in Brandenburg, Matthias Hoffmann, LELF

13:20-13:40 – Aktueller Stand der Ambrosia-Bekämpfung in NRW, Carla Michels, LANUV

13:40-14:00 – Zum Stand der Erfassung und Bekämpfung der Ambrosia in Rheinland-Pfalz, Johannes Mazomeit, Koordinator für die Erfassung und Bekämpfung der Ambrosia in Rheinland-Pfalz

14:00-14:20 – Stand des Aktionsprogramms Ambrosia in Bayern, Klaus Gehring, LfL

14:20-14:40 – Ambrosia Monitoring in Bayern, Stefan Nawrath, Projektgruppe Biodiversität und Landschaftsökologie

14:40-15:00 – Ambrosia Monitoring in Hessen, Beate Alberternst, Projektgruppe Biodiversität und Landschaftsökologie


Klinische Daten

15:20-15:40 – Ambrosia-Pollenflug in Deutschland, Barbora Werchan, PID/Charité

15:40-16:00 – Feststellung der Sensibilisierung auf Ambrosia und Beifuß mittels Pricktests in Brandenburg, Simona Menardo, LAVG

16:00-16:20 – Ambrosiastudie Drebkau, Ulf Gereke, PID/Charité

16:20-16:40 – Vorstellung des ReFoPlan-Vorhabens „Wirkmechanismen neu auftretender Pollenallergene“, Conny Höflich, UBA

Andere gebietsfremde Pflanzenarten

16:40-17:00 – Quetschgurke (Thladiantha dubia) erstmals auf Ackerland identifiziert, Klaus Gehring, LfL

Verschiedenes und Abschluss

17:00-17:20 – Verschiedenes

Weiterführung des Workshops und Öffnung für andere invasive gebietsfremde Pflanzenarten

Offene Fragen

EMAPI 2023

EMAPI 2023

EMAPI 2023 will take place from 23 to 25 of October in Pucón, Chile.

Important dates:

  • Registration (early bird), abstract submissions and optional workshops registrations: March 1, 2023 to May 31, 2023.
  • Late registration: June 6, 2023 to September 15, 2023.
  • Abstract acceptance: July 31, 2023

For more information: