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Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1297; doi:10.3390/su8121297

The Eco-Evolutionary Imperative: Revisiting Weed Management in the Midst of an Herbicide Resistance Crisis

1
Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-3120, USA
2
Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
3
Department of Plant Sciences, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Carol Shennan
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 22 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 December 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Agroecology in Archieving Sustainable Agriculture)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [378 KB, uploaded 9 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

Modern weed science is at a crossroads. Born out of advances in chemistry, it has focused on minimizing weed competition with genetically uniform crops and heavy reliance on herbicides. Paradoxically, the success obtained with such an approach and the reluctance to conduct integrated and multidisciplinary research has resulted in unintended, but predictable, consequences, including the selection of herbicide resistant biotypes. Advances in eco-evolutionary biology, a relatively recent discipline that seeks to understand how local population dynamics arise from phenotypic variation resulting from natural selection, habitat distribution, and propagule dispersal across the landscape are transforming our understanding of the processes that regulate agroecosystems. Within this framework, complementary tactics to develop alternative weed management programs include the following: (1) weed scientists must recognize that evolution occurs within crop fields at ecologically-relevant time scales and is rooted in the inherent variation that exists in all populations; (2) weed management should recognize that the probability of a resistant mutant is directly related to the population size; (3) farmers need to acknowledge that herbicide resistance transcends any one farm and should coordinate local practices with regional actions; (4) incentives should be developed and implemented to help the adoption of eco-evolutionary management programs; and (5) risk analysis can help incorporate an eco-evolutionary perspective into integrated weed management programs. View Full-Text
Keywords: eco-evolutionary feedbacks; weed ecology and management; multiple herbicide resistance; modelling; risk assessment eco-evolutionary feedbacks; weed ecology and management; multiple herbicide resistance; modelling; risk assessment
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Menalled, F.D.; Peterson, R.K.D.; Smith, R.G.; Curran, W.S.; Páez, D.J.; Maxwell, B.D. The Eco-Evolutionary Imperative: Revisiting Weed Management in the Midst of an Herbicide Resistance Crisis. Sustainability 2016, 8, 1297.

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