A new attitude to weeds required.

Some people, particularly in developed countries, have strong negative attitudes towards weeds, and a tendency to label potentially useful plant resources as invasive ‘aliens’, which are to be controlled at any cost. This undesirable attitude ignores the considerable evidence of beneficial uses of weed species to many societies, over a long period of human history. The recent application of ‘species-focused’ wee d risk assessments have contributed to the maligning of many plant taxa as ‘invaders’ in the public’s mind, undermining their worth as biological resources. Some of the methods used in the blitz against weeds , including the excessive use of herbicides, have resulted in undesirable consequences, such as herbic ide resistance, and negative impacts on biodiversity in farming landscapes. Weeds maintain the biologica l diversity of farming landscapes, providing food and shelter for a variety of animals. Insects, which pollinate crops, extensively use weeds as a source of nectar, when crops are not in flower. Weeds al so attract crop pests; and there is evidence that pest populations in some crops are much lower in ‘wee dy fields’ than in ‘weed-free’ crops. As many of our primary crops have ‘weedy-relatives’, the genes pr esent in weeds appear crucial for future evolution of crops, particularly to confer ‘hardiness’ (ability t o tolerate variable environmental conditions). Some weed species contribute to aesthetic pleasure, as part of ‘ wild nature’, while others provide culinary delights for humans, and are important as food sources for bo th vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Many weeds with medicinal values continue to be used either as traditional ‘herbal’ remedies, or extracted for secondary metabolites. The colonising strengths of s everal species are being used in the remediation of water and terrestrial environments to scavenge soil pol lutants. Globally, there is considerable interest in using the large biomass produced by these species as raw materials for countless household products, including bricks, paper and furniture; and as future bio – fuels.Therefore, within the field of weed science, a fresh look at weeds is essential. Perhaps, a ne w and bold paradigm should be ‘co-existing’ or ‘living with weeds’, recognising their intrinsic worth as p art of biodiversity, and the many possible uses as bio-resources.[Nimal Chandrasena (2014). Living with weeds – a new paradigm. Indian Journal of Weed Science, 46 (1): 96–110]

CSG chemical leak.http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/agl-suspends-csg-drilling-near-gloucester-after-chemical-find-20150127-12zc80.html

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