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Researchers propose new solution to ensure biofuel plants don't become noxious weeds
Date:3/6/2013

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The article further points out that a delay in state listing of an invasive species as a noxious plant, or a failure to reconcile state and IPC and EPC lists, can have far-reaching ecological impacts, since funding for weed control is generally funneled into formally listed noxious plants. Because control is easiest in the early stages of infestation when the political process involved in listing a weed may not have even begun, the financial effects of this gap can be massive.

To help remedy this situation, the authors are proposing, "objective and science-based policies for the regulation of introduced plant species, especially but not limited to bioenergy crops." These policies, they note, should restrict known invaders while allowing "flexibility to investigate and commercialize noninvasive bioenergy feedstock."

Listing would be faster and more inclusive if revamped regulatory boards with input from invasive and exotic weed councils evaluated plants based on criteria such as the plant's history, ecology, reproductive potential, and the potential for rapid spreading.

"The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently implemented a formal methodology for evaluation of weediness which will be helpful in this context," Barney said. "Occasionally, even if the risk assessment says a particular plant is a high risk, then regulators could come to an understanding about whether the benefits of a given plant are so high that the level of risk is acceptable."


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Contact: Zeke Barlow
bzeke@vt.edu
540-231-5417
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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