Book Review Australian Weed Management Systems

book cover

Edited by Brian Sindel
Published 2000 by RG & FJ Richardson,
PO Box 42, Meredith Vic. 3333
Soft cover, 506 pages, $32.90 plus $10.00 post and packing
Reviewer: J.T. Swarbrick

Until now weed-science teaching in Australian colleges and universities has relied on overseas textbooks, mainly from the USA. While the principles are undoubtedly the same, our weeds are different, our ecosystems are different, and our approaches to weed management are different.

The main educational objectives of the highly successful Cooperative Research Centre for Weed Management Systems were the production of a common syllabus for weed science and a supporting textbook, and at last we have our own Australian text on this important topic.

The book consists of six parts and 24 chapters, each written by eminent Australian authorities and refereed by others with experience in that area. The result is an authoritative and readable text which is up to date, well presented and well referenced, and which reflects the current Australian view of all the main branches of weed science.

The first part of Australian Weed Management Systems is an essay on weeds and their impacts, followed by a section on the ascendancy of weeds and their place in ecosystems including weed invasion, distribution and succession. Weed ecology and population dynamics are also discussed, as is weed interference, including allelopathy and competition.

The section covering techniques available for weed control is necessarily lengthy. The overriding requirements for effective regional weed management, legislation and quarantine, in which Australia leads the world, are fully discussed. Other chapters cover tillage and other physical management methods, cultural management methods and grazing.

Australia leads the world in classical biocontrol of weeds and this area is well covered, as is biocontrol with bioherbicides. Two chapters cover herbicide mode of action and resistance, and their application and fate in the environment. Two brief but important chapters provide historical and economic perspectives on weed control in the fourth section of the book.

Weed management system

The largest section of Australian Weed Management Systems covers weed management systems in our nine most important managed ecosystems. Chapters include detailed studies of weed management in crops, pastures, natural ecosystems, vegetables and tree crops, and viticulture.

Lawns and sports turfs are covered, as are plantation forests and rangelands. Weed management in freshwater aquatic ecosystems is also covered, but we remain unable to manage the emerging but potentially serious weeds of marine areas.

Australian Weed Management Systems is a tour deforce by Australian weed scientists. Linked with a national weed-science syllabus in weed science and weed management, it cannot fail to improve our weed management. It is recommended to all of us who are involved in weeds and their management; we shall all find valuable information within its covers. I wish it had been available when I was teaching weed science.