Fundamentals of Weed Science, 3rd Edition by Robert L. Zimdahl

Bibliographic Information:
Title: Fundamentals of Weed Science
Editor:  Robert L. Zimdahl
Edition: 3rd
Publisher: Academic Press Now (Elsevier)
Length: 689 pages
Size: 4.58 MB
Language: English

More than 30 years ago, the Monsanto Company distributed a picture that
hangs in my study. It showed four books1 with several weed seedlings emerging
from each. It was a good picture that portrayed the beginnings of books
relevant to weed science. Two (Ahlgren et al. and King) were textbooks, and
two (Muenscher and Fernald) were plant identifi cation books. They were the
beginning of a now greatly expanded literature on weed science.
Many, but not all, textbooks written for undergraduate weed science courses
lack an ecological-management perspective on the rapidly developing science
of weeds and their control. This book does not ignore the history of weed
science and the development of chemical weed control, but it strives to include
herbicides as one management technique among many rather than the primary
method of choice to solve most weed problems.
Science, of all kinds, is not in favor these days. Scientists, including weed
scientists, eagerly accepted the credit when in 1945, after World War II, many
advances in societal development were widely regarded as contributions of
science. The public regarded these advances, which included herbicides and
other pesticides, as desirable and benign. Now science is held responsible for
many problems that have grown out of its linkage with technology. Herbicides
are no longer regarded as benign but rather as threats to humans and the
environment and are seen by many as undesirable scientifi c creations. The
public’s attitude toward science and scientists has become a mingling of awe
and fear. The practice of science is constrained because while it claims to be
an end in itself, it is publicly supported and tolerated because of its utility and
its practical value, and it is feared because of its well-known undesirable consequences.
Weed science is not atypical, and because of its close identifi cation
with chemical herbicides, it may be regarded with more apprehension than
some other areas of agricultural science. The public’s lack of understanding
or its misunderstanding of what weed scientists do will not lessen the need
for what is done, and it increases the responsibility of weed scientists and
educators to be clear about the problem of weeds and proposed solutions. The
responsibility is not so much to educate the public about “what we do” as it
is to engage in a conversation (a dialogue, not a monologue) with the public.
It is an engagement in public scholarship, whereby original, peer-reviewed
intellectual work is fully integrated with the social learning of the public
( Jordan et al., 2002).2
This book includes herbicides3 and their use as an important aspect of
modern weed management, but it strives to place them in an ecological framework.
Any book that purports to discuss the present state of the practice (and
art) of weed management would be of little consequence and limited value to
students and others who wish to know about weed management, as it is now
practiced, if it omitted discussion of herbicides. Many weed scientists believe
agriculture is a continuing struggle with weeds. That is, they believe that
without good weed control, good, profi table agriculture is impossible and
herbicides are an essential component of success. Each agricultural discipline
sees itself as central to agriculture’s success and continued progress, and weed
scientists are no exception. While not denying the importance of weed management
to successful agriculture, its role in the larger ecological context is
emphasized. The role of culture, economics, and politics in weed management
are mentioned but are not strong themes.
This, the third edition, is not a complete revision of the original text, but
it has been changed in several signifi cant ways while maintaining an overall
ecological framework. Some references in the fi rst edition have been omitted,
but 494 new references have been added, 294 of which are work published
after 1999, and 89 of them are from the ecological literature. The literature
review for this edition was completed in early 2006.

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