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Weeds girdle the globe: The marauding march of invasive plant species

By Andi Horvath

Plant population specialist Prof Roger Cousens talks about how the spread of undesirable plants, or “weeds”, has dramatically redefined the world’s natural landscapes and coastlines, and what this means for us economically, aesthetically and environmentally.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

ANDI HORVATH
I'm Dr Andi Horvath. Thanks for joining us. Today we bring you Up Close to our planet of plants and to one remarkable group in particular which we collectively call weeds. As we will hear, weeds are emblematic of both highly successful survival strategies and damagingly pervasive pestilence. We're joined by plant population ecologist, Professor Roger Cousens, a weed specialist, to explore the ingenious natural history of various weeds and the challenges they pose economically, culturally, environmentally and aesthetically. We delve into how nature and humans help or hinder weeds' progression on their path to world domination. Roger Cousens takes particular interest in coastal weeds, and as we'll learn from some of his case studies, the story of weeds is often as compelling as alien invasions in science fiction. Welcome to Up Close, Roger.

ROGER COUSENS
Hi.

ANDI HORVATH
Roger, let's start at the very beginning. What is a weed?

ROGER COUSENS
It can be almost anything. It's in the eye of the beholder. There is no such thing as a weed species, it just depends who the person is and what their attitudes are.

ANDI HORVATH
So a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.