Our goal in writing this book was to describe
why weeds occur where they do. We have
made no attempt to discuss their management
and control: there are excellent texts
available for that. Rather, we think that students
should understand how and why
weeds fit into their environment. This text
presents ecological principles as they relate
to weeds. Ecology is central to our understanding
of how and why weeds invade and
yet there are few books that make this connection.
That is the niche we hope to fill.
The scope of this book is to demonstrate that we do have an ecosystem theory that can be
used to describe ecosystem structure and function. It was previously shown in the book,
Integration of Ecosystem Theories: A Pattern (3rd edition, 2002), that the various contributions
to systems ecology are consistent and together form a pattern of ecological
processes. My book with Yuri Svirezhev, Toward a Thermodynamic Theory of Ecosystems
(2004), presented the thermodynamics of this pattern in a mathematical language....
This book, now in its third edition, began almost 25 years ago when Weed
Ecology: Implications for Vegetation Management was published in 1984. That
text concentrated on the need for farmers, foresters, rangeland managers, and the
researchers who advised them to understand better the biology of weeds and
the role people play in creating and maintaining weeds in agriculture and other
production systems. We were assisted in that first effort by the writings of many
early scientists, such as J. L. Harper, H. G. Baker, and E. J.
Of the many books that have been written about weed management, most
have focused on the use of herbicides. This volume is different. Instead of providing
information about chemical weed control technologies, the emphasis
here is on weed management procedures that rely on manipulations of ecological
conditions and relationships. By focusing on ecologically based
methods of management, we have been able to provide in-depth treatment of
subjects that most weed science books treat only briefly.
Biological invasions are one of the major threats to our native biodiversity. The
magnitude of biodiversity losses, land degradation and productivity losses of managed
and natural ecosystems due to invasive species is enormous. It has an adverse
impact on our efforts to maintain biodiversity and on our conservation programs,
and thus could create societal instability.