Edited by Charles Perrings, Mark Williamson and Silvana Dalmazzone
Garry Hill and David Greathead 1 INTRODUCTION Classical biological control is the purposeful introduction and permanent establishment of exotic natural enemies of pests and weeds, with a view to permanently suppressing their abundance within a prescribed region or country. The ﬁrst successful introductions of insect natural enemies were made in 1888, and of weed natural enemies in 1902. To date, more than 5000 natural enemies of insects and mites have been introduced for classical biological control, and more than 900 introductions of natural enemies of weeds (Greathead and Greathead, 1992; Julien and Grifﬁths, 1998; authors’ unpublished records (BIOCAT database)). The rate of permanent establishment of introduced natural enemies against arthropod targets is about 25 per cent, with complete control of pest populations achieved in about 10–15 per cent of cases. For weeds, the success rate is higher and more thoroughly evaluated. A detailed analysis of results of weed biological control projects up to 1980 revealed the following statistics (Julien and White, 1997): from a total of 729 releases of weed biocontrol agents, 64 per cent established and 28 per cent of them were involved in successful control of a weed. Thirty-nine per cent of the 179 reviewed weed biocontrol projects were successful, and 48 per cent of the 101 species of weeds targeted were controlled. The analysis revealed a total of 178 species of biological control agent were used, 71 per cent of which established and 34 per cent of which were successful in at least one location....
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