Canadian Forest Service Publications

Application of biological control to vegetation management in forestry (Abstract) 1998. Shamoun, S.F.; Gardner, D.E. Page 10 in Beneficial Use of Plant Pathogens: Biological Control of Weeds Workshop, Proceedings: 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology. August 9-16, 1998, Edinburgh, Scotland. Elsevier, Oxford, UK.

Year: 1998

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 5077

Language: English

Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

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The discovery and development of potential biological control agents to suppress alien and native competing forest vegetation is receiving increased attention in the management of conifer regeneration sites and urban forest lands. Development of alternatives to existing forest vegetation methods, such as chemical herbicide applications and manual brushing, has become important in forest management plans due to economic constraints and increasing public concern over pesticide use. Biological control strategies which utilize microbial organisms or their secondary metabolites to control weeds have been widely investigated in agricultural systems, and similar approaches for pathogen selection, formulation, and application could be applied for forest weed control.

In forest renewal sites, biological control agents need to be sufficiently virulent to mitigate the aggressiveness of competing vegetation, while allowing the native plants and crop trees to compete successfully. Three major control strategies are being used with respect to management of competing forest vegetation: classical, inundative (bioherbicide/mycoherbicide approach), and augmentative (silvicultural manipulation). Classical biocontrol strategy has been used to control alien forest weeds. The use of indigenous plant pathogens, or bioherbicides, is one of the promising approaches for management of native competing vegetation. The augmentative, or silvicultural manipulation strategy, of forest stands has been promoted by sound research based on knowledge of the biology of plant pathogens and their target weeds and the ecology of forest ecosystems. Each of these control strategies is briefly presented and discussed using examples from the forestry and biocontrol literature.

Vegetation management in forestry has some unique aspects that will make the development of biocontrols different from that in agriculture. There are many indigenous plant pathogens that are potential bioherbicides, but their efficacy will need to be enhanced by adjuvants, stress treatment, and integration with other vegetation control practices. Examples on using Chondrostereum purpureum as a biocontrol agent for hardwood weeds, Fusarium avenaceum for control of invasive weedy Rubus spp., and the rust fungus Gymnoconia nitens for control of alien Rubus spp. will be discussed.