Rosa Binimelis, Walter Pengue, Iliana Monterroso, ‘‘’Transgenic treadmill’: Responses to the emergence and spread of glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass in Argentina,” Geoforum, 2009, 40:4.
The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate has become the largest-selling crop-protection product worldwide. The increased use of glyphosate is associated with the appearance of a growing number of tolerant or resistant weeds, with socio-environmental consequences apart from the loss of productivity. In 2002, a glyphosate-resistant biotype of johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense (L.)) appeared in Argentina and now covers at least 10,000 ha. This paper analyzes the driving forces behind the emergence and spread of this weed and also examines management responses and their implications.
Preventive strategies against glyphosate-resistant johnsongrass fail because of the institutional setting. Reactive measures, however, transfer the risks to the society and the environment through the introduction of novel genetically modified crops that allow the use of yet more herbicide. This in turn reinforces the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds, constituting a new phenomenon of intensification, the “transgenic treadmill”. FULL TEXT