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Old 02-18-2010, 10:32 PM   #1
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Default Winning Battles But Losing the War on Invasive Alien Species

Winning Battles But Losing the War on Invasive Alien Species
February 4, 2010
Environment News Service

Winning Battles But Losing the War on Invasive Alien Species
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GISP Executive Director Dr. Sarah Simons said, "Despite the enormous costs, not only to biodiversity but also food security, human health, trade, transport and more broadly, economic development, invasive species continue to receive inadequate attention from policymakers and in 2010, there is simply no excuse for not tackling one of the greatest threats to the environmental and economic well-being of our planet."
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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dragonfly01 Invasive Species

Eat 'em or find something that does. Nothing survives that. The majority culture has extincted thousands of species in their original habitat - & continues to - surely it can't be that hard to do with invasives.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pahinh Winh View Post
Eat 'em or find something that does. Nothing survives that. The majority culture has extincted thousands of species in their original habitat - & continues to - surely it can't be that hard to do with invasives.
Hi Pahinh Winh,

If only it was that easy!

Firstly, please don't interpret this posting as being critical of what you said, as that isn't my intent. I've found that many folks who live in parts of the country where native nature is still relatively intact have a hard time grasping how bad it can be in more developed parts of the country.

For the most part, the species that we've exterminated aren't of this invasive category. As you probably know, the vast majority (but not all) of exterminated and threatened life forms are species that are of limited distribution and/or are more sensitive to degradation of their habitat. The invasives are typically species that can adapt to a very wide range of conditions, and usually thrive in disturbed ecosystems and cause even more weakening and destruction to the ecosystems that they invade, thus making things even more amenable to their own kind while eliminating the native competition. It is in fact very hard to get rid of most invasives.

Perhaps up there in North Dakota where you're from, the land hasn't been so thoroughly raped as it has been in places like where I live, Illinois, where natural systems have been pretty much reduced to relatively tiny, badly degraded patches surrounded by essentially sterile towns, cities and farms, which are all relative ecological deserts. And our little patches of native stuff are constantly under attack by the non-native stuff, especially plants. We have some really awful plants that we're fighting here, and most of them aren't something that we can eat.

There have been a few encouraging signs on some fronts, but it seems that there's a constant supply of ever-worse invasives showing up on a regular basis. A few years back, European Lythrum was invading and taking over native wetlands like wildfire. It was found that we could import a beetle that keeps it in check in its native home, and in some cases (but not all), that has pretty much eradicated the problem plant. But since the Lythrum has gone, it's been replaced by a couple invasive grasses, Reed Canary Grass and Common Reed, which are even worse and harder to control.

And now we have a plague of native White Tailed Deer because we've destroyed their predators, prohibited hunting them and shrunk the lands where they can live, concentrating them in ever-smaller pieces of land. Many places around here have 40-50 or more deer per square mile, and they utterly destroy the native plant populations.

It's a real mess in many parts of the world. If you ever travel down this way, I'd be happy to show you around so that you can see what we're up against down here.

John
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:29 PM   #4
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...A few years back, European Lythrum was invading and taking over native wetlands like wildfire. It was found that we could import a beetle that keeps it in check in its native home, and in some cases (but not all), that has pretty much eradicated the problem plant...
John
To piggy-back on what John said, I believe there was extensive research done before introducing the Lythrum-eating beetle to ensure that it would not cause more damage to the environment.
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