Exotic plants in new ecosystems where they may be of no economic importance and where their original biological enemies may be absent become weeds, difficult to manage by crop farmers. They limit the productivity of the lands and hence affect crop development and yield. Efforts towards reducing reliance on herbicides and other methods for environmental, health, economic and sustainability reasons have led to increasing interest in the biological approach to controlling these weeds. This work therefore presents an overview of the biological approach to weed control with focus on the basic concepts, underlying principles, procedures and current practices, cases and causes of failure and successes. Specifically, this chapter has discussed the underlying principles, general procedures, reasons for relatively slow popularity and adoption of biological weed control, examples of successful biological control of weeds with introduced insects and pathogens, when is weed biological control successful?, things to consider when making the choice of agents to be introduced to control weeds and steps to identifying and introducing biological control agents.
Part of the book: Biological Approaches for Controlling Weeds