Research has made it possible to quantify and map the distribution of ragweed and carry out efficient mitigation. Mapping of ragweed has fed into forecasting models, allowing effective management of hay fever.
Common ragweed is one of the most prominent invasive alien species in Europe. Its pollen grains are carriers of noxious allergens that may induce severe symptoms in sensitised people. It is also a significant agricultural weed with a range that is likely to increase under climate change.
Geographers at the University of Worcester researched on the production, atmospheric distribution, and health impacts of the 12 most important aero-allergenic pollens.
Birdseed packages produced in the main source areas were heavily infested with ragweed seed, thereby providing a route of infection to other European countries.
The researchers also explored the applicability of biological control of ragweed using natural enemies. They identified that the ragweed beetle (Ophraella communa), accidentally released in the Po Valley, Italy, was the likely cause of the significant decrease in atmospheric concentrations of ragweed pollen in the region.
The research helped inform a 2012 European Directive which set the maximum levels of ragweed seeds in products intended for animal feed, particularly birds.
Since 2019, the University of Worcester has been contracted to provide pollen data for the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS). A ragweed forecast now allows allergy sufferers to take preventive measures days before exposure and aids clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies.
Read the full impact case study in the REF 21 database
Institution: University of Worcester
Researchers: Professor Carsten A. Skjøth, Dr Matthew Smith
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY NC 4.0), which permits use, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is cited and it is for non-commercial purposes. Please contact us for other uses.
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) (2023) Mapping and mitigating harmful invasive species. Available at www.rgs.org/mitigating-harmful-invasive-species Last accessed on: <date>
Featured image: Anastasia Lashkevich / Pexels
Geographic information is being used to help humanitarian and government organisations visualise data about disasters to predict, prepare and respond to emergencies in Cambodia.
Research into climate risk management has adapted investments in energy and water infrastructure.
Research has raised awareness of the benefits of Blue-Green infrastructure.
Manchester City Council worked with Gaist to ensure it had the right data to secure additional investment for maintaining its highways network to support the city’s growth ambitions.
By placing a booking, you are permitting us to store and use your (and any other attendees) details in order to fulfil the booking.
We will not use your details for marketing purposes without your explicit consent.
You must be a member holding a valid Society membership to view the content you are trying to access. Please login to continue.
Join us today, Society membership is open to anyone with a passion for geography
Cookies on the RGS website