Gerhard Karrer1, Peter Zinggl2, Anita Szeiber3 and András Vér4
1University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Gregor Mendel Street 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria
2Government of the Province of Burgenland, Eisenstadt, Austria
3Government Office for the Győr-Moson-Sopron County, Hungary
4Széchenyi István University Győr-Moson-Sopron, Hungary
The pollen of ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) is known to be a particularly aggressive allergen which causes tremendous economic loss each year. While Hungary has already been affected for a long time and thereby successfully established control measures both in organizational and legal terms, in Austria the plant has only increasingly spread in the last 20 years. Since the spread takes place via Eastern neighbouring countries, the province of Burgenland is particularly strongly affected. However, neither a regulated procedure for detection and control of ragweed, nor any collaboration with Hungarian authorities currently exists on the Austrian side. This imbalance in the capacity for action of administrative systems constitutes a major challenge for the border region. As ragweed does not stop at the border, this problem can only be combated by acting together.
The project has set the objective of establishing a sustainable institutional cooperation on the issue of ragweed control between the Austrian and Hungarian administrative systems and research institutions. This enables a know-how transfer that benefits both sides and improves the quality of public service and thereby also quality of life for the population.
In the framework of this survey and research, fundamental data will be collected (main output 1: cross-border cooperation of universities in the frame of the research activities) on the basis of which coordinated recommendations can be made in order to control and to prevent the spread. A cross-border data exchange about pollen loads and ragweed population loads is first made possible by establishing ragweed reporting systems in both countries that exchange regularly relevant data. The establishment of a bilateral ragweed task force with experts of both countries lays the foundations for a long-lasting institutional cooperation (main output 2: sustainable cross-border cooperation of administrative bodies).
Long term experience with ragweed detection and eradication based on the rigid legal basis are provided by Hungarian colleagues to Austrian authorities of the federal state of Burgenland which aim at setting up a legal basis of ragweed monitoring and extirpation. Experienced specialists from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna as well as from the Széchenyi István University in Mosonmagyaróvár compiled optimal strategies to defeat ragweed with respect to the constraints of habitat type specific management options. A beta-version of the new monitoring and management system of Burgenland was installed in 2018 and will be improved in 2019. The final version and its legal basis is planned for the beginning of 2020.