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Selecting biological control agents

Selecting effective agents

Conflicts of interest

Apart from issues surrounding unintended and adverse non-target effects, biological control programmes may be challenged because the status of the pest is not universally agreed. This is more likely to be an issue for weed control rather than arthropod control. The biological control programme for gorse (Ulex europaeus L.) began only after consideration of the costs and benefit of the plant indicated that the benefits of reducing the adverse effect of the weed would outweigh the loss of value as deer fodder, as a pollen source for bees, and as a nurse crop for regenerating native forest (Hill and Sandrey 1986). More recently, an application to ERMA (NOC05012 []) to introduce biological control agents for broom (Cytisus scoparius (L.) Link) was reconsidered and approved only after a major economic study examined the relative apportioning of costs and benefits to farmers, beekeepers and growers of the fodder tree tagasaste (Jarvis et al. (2006)). Any potential conflicts of interest should be identified before a programme begins in case the conflict is so large that the programme is not viable, or in case long-term data is required to support the eventual case for introduction.


Hill R.L. and Sandrey R.A. (1986). The costs and benefits of gorse Proceedings of the New Zealand Weed and Pest Control Conference 39: 70-73

Jarvis P.J., Fowler S.V., Paynter Q. and Syrett P. (2006). Predicting the economic benefits and costs of introducing new biological control agents for Scotch broom Cytisus scoparius into New Zealand. Biological Control 39: 135-146