Final SMARTER conference and meetings

Members of European COST Action for the sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe “SMARTER” met in the historic and picturesque town of Vianden in north-eastern Luxembourg.

The programme included meetings for Working Group 2 (11 Sept) as well as the Core Group, Managament Committee, and TF Population Dynamics (12 Sept). These were followed by the Final SMARTER Conference that preceded the 9th International Conference on Biological Invasions “Interactions with Environmental Change” (NEOBIOTA 2016) .

An important aim of the WG2 Vegetation Management meeting was to finish the manual of the standardised protocol for testing the soil seed bank of Ambrosia artemisiifolia, which is simple and straightforward enough for practitioners to use but based on biological knowledge. Rea Hall reported on the TTC tests and Rodolfo Gentili on the competitive seed mixtures, and a paper on these topics was discussed. Gerhard Karrer reported on the taxonomy group activities, e.g. on Ambrosia maritima, which is on base of these investigations recently to be considered nearly extinct in the Mediterranean.

The Core Group and Management Committee meetings mainly focused on discussing the successes and failures of the COST Action, and how the work being carried out by the various Working Groups and Task Forces can be brought together as lack of synthesis was identified as a major failing of SMARTER so far.

Ambrosia

Prof. Heinz Müller-Schärer, the Chair of the Action, leading the discussions during the MC meeting in Vianden

Success stories of the Action include the work carried out in estimating the risk of non-target effects of Ophraella commune following its accidental introduction into Northern Italy and the number of publications being prepared by the Action, many of which were presented during the Final Conference and the abstracts can be viewed here Abstracts-smarter-vianden2016.

Brochure with the final achievements: depl_smarter-20164

Michel Thibaudon (RNSA France) presenting "The French evolution of exposition and health impact since 10 years" at the SMARTER Final Conference.

Michel Thibaudon (RNSA France) presenting “The French evolution of exposition and health impact since 10 years” at the SMARTER Final Conference.

The Vianden meeting was successfully organised by Christian Ries, who also led the social programme (on the piano)

The Vianden meeting was successfully organised by Christian Ries, who also led the social programme (on the piano)