Potential Alternatives to Classical Biocontrol: Using Native Agents in Invaded Habitats and Genetically Engineered Sterile Cultivars for Invasive Plant Management
The development of an effective approach to control and eradication of invasive species has become a major challenge to scientists, managers, and society. Biocontrol has been widely utilized to control exotic plants in the past few decades with some degree of sucess. However, there have been an increasing number of controversies pertaining to this approach, largely due to the potential environmental risk when introduced natural enemies attack non-targeted species. Here we present two alternatives in addition to classical biocontrol of invasive plants using case studies, and discuss the possibility that there may be more than one formula for a success. One strategy is to search for native agents (other than introduced from elsewhere) in the invaded ranges to manage invasive plants that have been difficult for risky to control or eliminate with classical biocontrol methods. Another new approach is to use traditional breeding or modern transgenic technologies to produce sterile cultivars for economically important exotic plants used in horticulture and forestry.