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Old 10-19-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
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earth1 Non-native plants reduce abundance, richness, and host specialization in lepidopteran communities

Non-native plants reduce abundance, richness, and host specialization in lepidopteran communities

Burghardt, K. T., D. W. Tallamy, C. Philips, and K. J. Shropshire. 2010. Non-native plants reduce abundance, richness, and host specialization in lepidopteran communities. Ecosphere 1(5):art11. doi:10.1890/ES10-00032.1

Entomology and Wildlife Ecology Department, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716 USA

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We suggest that extinction is not the appropriate measure of impact on ecosystem function and present evidence that non-native plant invasions or the replacement of native plants with non-native ornamentals results in significant bottom-up reductions of energy available for local food webs.
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Non-native plants supported significantly fewer caterpillars of significantly fewer specialist and generalist species even when the non-natives were close relatives of native host plants.
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The proportion of the Lepidoptera community consisting of specialist species was about five times larger across native species within sites compared to non-native plant species.
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Old 10-25-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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Good information. Looking up some of the research mentioned will be included in this winters reading project. I am becoming increasingly concerned over this idea spreading through the media that invasive plants may not be ultimately harmful and that we should therefore cut back on efforts to slow the spread of these plants and other species that enter and begin to dominate, rapidly changing the ecosystem to such a degree as to permanently change the progression and function of the land and its inhabitants. Do people imagine that ecosystem degradation is simply a matter of aesthetics not worth the trouble and money it takes to find solutions?

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Although it has been shown that the large scale addition of non-native plants to ecosystems can alter soil moisture,pH,biota, and nutrients; and increase fire frequency and plant competition (Tyser and Worley 1992,Randall 1996,Duncan 1997, Gould and Gorchov 2000, Mack et al.2004,Butler and Cogan 2004) the ecological impacts of and our response to non-native plants has become increasingly controversial.
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:29 AM   #3
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Do people imagine that ecosystem degradation is simply a matter of aesthetics not worth the trouble and money it takes to find solutions?” I don’t think that's gonna register for most people… at least not the way it does for us. I do think most people think about aesthetics but… beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there’s been a lot of money pumped into reinforcing their manufactured vision of beauty. They’ve grown up running through fields of Dame’s Rocket and Queen Ann’s Lace driving down roads lined with chicory and narrow leaf cattails and as kids they swung in tire swings hung from weeping willow trees. Purple Loosestrife and ribbon grass are beautiful to them… they “dance” in the wind… or so the glossy full color ads selling the cultivars of those species tell them. They don’t see damage with their own 2 eyes therefore it doesn’t exist and besides which…. planting 1 more European barberry won’t make a difference anyway even if there was a shred of truth buried somewhere in all the invasive species hype and hysteria.
--
Big Hort’s done damage… that’s for sure. We forget how powerful the nursery industry has become. They’ve got lobbyists working over time and then there’s all the billions of dollars pumped into marketing BigHort’s “products”. Toss in a few Michael Dirrs and George Balls working the crowds polarizing the issues and I’d say the scales aren’t exactly tipped in favor of our fragile ecosystems. Remember when George Ball wrote ‘Border War’? The media loved it. They published it and republished it then… published it again. Fans of Sawtooth oaks and Norway maples went wild. I can remember thousands of people commenting that they had rights planting whatever they wanted because this was America. Very disheartening.
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:31 AM   #4
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Tip toeing in for a moment, attached please find a lower version of Equilibrium's word document. Perhaps this will be easier to view for those who do not have Microsoft Word 2007.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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I've lived with Norway Maples since 1988, I'm sorry that they ever got established. No squirrels visited them or made those summer homes of leaves you sometimes see in other trees.

With it's shallow roots getting anything to grow near them is near impossible. The dry shade makes matters worse.

The last couple of years the leaves have suffered from the heat and have blackspot on nearly every leaf.

Now that their gone it leaves space for better trees like crab apples. dogwood and hazelnuts along with patches of milkweed and purple coneflower's.

The squirrels and butterflies should like that.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sprucetree View Post
I've lived with Norway Maples since 1988, I'm sorry that they ever got established. No squirrels visited them or made those summer homes of leaves you sometimes see in other trees.

With it's shallow roots getting anything to grow near them is near impossible. The dry shade makes matters worse.

The last couple of years the leaves have suffered from the heat and have blackspot on nearly every leaf.

Now that their gone it leaves space for better trees like crab apples. dogwood and hazelnuts along with patches of milkweed and purple coneflower's.

The squirrels and butterflies should like that.
Congratulations on getting rid of them... your story tells so much...keep us posted about the improvements you see and the wildlife that appears with your new plantings.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:23 AM   #7
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Well the common Milkweed is taking care of it self once it got established which is 2 years now.

I'm one of those gardeners who hate to see things wilt and die and the milkweed patches really stay nice and green. Their nice and thick and weeding is the occasional weed that blows in.

My concern was the Monarch Migration and now that the beds are well established I regularly see Monarchs; It's probably really amazing to the Monarch butterfly looking to lay a few eggs on the scattered milkweed in fields seeing a mono-culture of 50+ plants all grouped together. This mini-forest of milkweeds should provide plenty of food and cover for the emerging cats.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:19 AM   #8
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That's great, sprucetree!

I can't wait until my plantings fill the yard with large quantities of all the variety I've planted...so the yard will be a smorgasbord each season of the year. Too often there is just a single plant, bush, or tree. I hope to have a bounty of things for as many species as possible.

I know what you mean about the "relief" they must feel (I'm personifying them, I know) at not having to search far and wide for a host plant or two. I tried establishing some of the common milkweed ...and it did grow where I put it....but this year I found several locally occurring ones volunteer in a mother part of the yard that is starting to get over run by mugwort. I've got to remove the mugwort and let the milkweed take over. Not a bad spot for a large stand...maybe someday soon I'll have something to rival your patch.
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:33 AM   #9
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Tip toeing in for a moment, attached please find a lower version of Equilibrium's word document. Perhaps this will be easier to view for those who do not have Microsoft Word 2007.

Former president of AHS and now president of Burpee? what a turkey. If he's conscious enough to be looking for his head, I can tell him where it's lodged!!
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:55 PM   #10
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Would that be where the sun does not shine (giggle). Perhaps his head is lodged in his bank registry counting the money he has made exploiting good people while polluting the environment.
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