Use herbicide to control problematic plants: brackish/saline swamps
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Herbicides can be applied to an entire area of vegetation, or targeted at individual problematic species (e.g. by painting onto individual plants, or shielding non-target vegetation). Herbicides could be applied once, or repeatedly to kill established vegetation or recurrent growth from the seed bank. To maximize contact with target species and minimize non-target effects, herbicides might be applied during/at the start of the dry season, as the tide is going out, or on calm rather than windy days (e.g. Tobias et al. 2016). Often, herbicide application will follow or be followed by other interventions, such as mowing, burning or physical removal of problematic plants.
Caution: In many herbicides, the active chemicals are not specific to the problematic species so can cause collateral damage to desirable species. Relying on herbicides as the only tool to manage problematic plants can lead to the development of herbicide resistance in future generations (Powles et al. 1997). Herbicides can have severe negative side effects on biodiversity, the environment and human health (Pimentel et al. 1992). Accordingly, herbicide use – particularly in or near wetlands or water bodies – is limited in many countries.
Bear in mind that the effects of herbicide might be highly dependent on the chemical used, how it is applied (e.g. season and number of applications), and local site conditions (e.g. nutrient availability, water levels, proximity of untreated invaded vegetation) (Tobias et al. 2016). Also, similarity between treated and untreated, degraded areas might not be an undesirable outcome for this action: similarity in vegetation cover after months or years could suggest, for example, that native vegetation abundance has recovered after being initially depressed by herbicide.
For this action, “vegetation” refers to overall or non-target vegetation. Studies that only report responses of target problematic plants have not been summarized.
Pimentel D., Acquay H., Biltonen M., Rice P., Silva M., Nelson J., Lipner V., Giordano S., Horowitz A. & D’Amore M. (1992) Environmental and economic costs of pesticide use. BioScience, 42, 750–760.
Powles S.B., Preston C., Bryan I.B. & Jutsum A.R. (1997) Herbicide resistance: impact and management. Advances in Agronomy, 58, 57–93.
Tobias V.D., Block G. & Laca E.A. (2016) Controlling perennial pepperweed (Lepidium latifolium) in a brackish tidal marsh. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 24, 411–418.