Ecosystem and Species Management

2012 - Assessing and controlling the spread and the effects of Common ragweed in Europe

Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is a highly invasive species across Europe with harmful impacts on a range of sectors, including human health, agriculture and other production systems, biodiversity and the wider environment. In 2011 ragweed was spreading actively throughout Europe, in particular in agricultural fields, along roadsides and disturbed soils such as vacant lots and abandoned fields. Highly infested regions in Europe were the French Rhone valley, the Italian Po valley and some former Yugoslavian states, as well as Hungary. For about 15 years its abundance had been increasing in other countries of Europe – among them Switzerland.

A great deal of work had been done to understand and control this species. There has been a wide range of measures applied, across the EU Member States and beyond, from eradication campaigns to strict laws and their implementation.  However, a significant number of countries with ragweed contamination had not taken any action yet.


There was a need to synthesise and systematically review information, highlight knowledge gaps and utilise modern modelling methods to allow: an understanding of the current extent of ragweed infestation in Europe; the development of measures to control ragweed spread and introduction (now and in future climates); economic, social and environmental quantification of direct and indirect harmful effects in all sectors; and the dissemination of accurate and up-to-date scientifically-based evidence to stakeholders. This project achieved these aims by implementing a coordinated set of actions involving a large number of experts from across Europe working on a number of inter-linked tasks.

Time frame

The project began on 14 March 2011 and lasted for 18 months.



This project was funded by the European Commission, Directorate General Environment.