Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society: A Glimpse of the Past 50 Years and Perspectives

Chandrasena, N R and Rao, A N (2017) Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society: A Glimpse of the Past 50 Years and Perspectives. In: Commemorating 50 Years (1967-2017) 50th Anniversary Celebratory Volume, Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS); Indian Society of Weed Science (ISWS), India and The Weed Science Society of Japan (WSSJ). Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS), Hyderabad, pp. 1-37. ISBN 978-81-931978-5-1

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Since the mid-1940s, exciting discoveries of new herbicides led to noticeable improvements in weed control in many crops over the following two decades, leading to yield increases. However, the optimism of achieving weed control through herbicides alone was short-lived. The harmful effects caused by an overuse of chemicals were felt through the 1950s, igniting the need for ecological thinking to understand weeds prior to their control. This is why Weed Science took an important change in direction in the late-1950s to encompass studies of weed biology and, ecology - to anchor the evolving discipline in a broader agro-ecological context. As the World’s population increased dramatically in the 1960s, in the Asian-Pacific region, there was a deeply-felt need to improve weed control to increase food production. In 1967, the Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS) was born to promote an exchange of ideas on weed control across the region, including the use of herbicides. The period of ecological enlightenment (1960 to 1975) led to weeds being understood as ‘colonizing species’. Colonizing species opportunistically capture resources created by habitat disturbances caused naturally, or by human activities. The placement of weed studies within this ecological framework broadened the discipline to include sustainable weed control practices promoted through the vehicle of Integrated Weed Management (IWM). As a result, discourses in Weed Science, including those at the APWSS, from around the late-1980s, expanded to cover biological and ecological aspects of weeds, as well as mechanisms of crop-weed interactions (i.e. competition, allelopathy, and critical weed-free periods). This trend has continued in recent decades, causing a paradigm shift - from herbicide dominated weed control to Weed Science. In more recent times, research in the Asian-Pacific region has focused on reducing a dependence on herbicides, in favour of integrated weed management (IWM). Management of herbicide resistance in weeds; understanding the potential impacts of climate change and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture; and special weed problems, such as weedy rice, dominate the APWSS research agenda. Reducing conflicts between weeds and men, through a recognition of the redeeming value of weeds and utilization of weeds as bio-resources are also emerging as topics of interest. In our time, when the need to increase the output of food for the rising population of the world is acutely felt, and interlinked human impacts on the globe are accelerating, the scope of Weed Science cannot but expand. The major challenges humans face in this second decade of the 21st Century will encourage us to deeply reflect on our relationship with weeds. We hope that Weed Science will help us learn from weeds that ‘co-existence’ and austerity are virtues for the future survival of our species.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Research Program : Asia
Uncontrolled Keywords: Weed Science Society, Weed Science, Asian-Pacific
Subjects: Others > Agriculture
Others > Weed Science
Others > Asia
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2017 10:11
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2017 10:11
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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