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Invasive Species In A Nutshell
Invasive Species In A Nutshell
Published by TheLorax
Default Invasive Species In A Nutshell

Invasive Species In A Nutshell
by TheLorax

Lots of talk these days about invasive species and seems as if there are a lot of people trying to make sense of all the bad press some plants and animals are getting lately who are interested in learning more about them. The below is something I use when working with younger groups. Most of them have read 'The Lorax' but many aren't familiar with 'On Beyond Zebra' so I read it to them in its entirety before we move forward.

We all know and love Dr. Seuss. In addition to 'The Lorax', Dr. Seuss wrote another book I'd like to mention. Have you ever read 'On Beyond Zebra'? It's about "the rest of the alphabet". A very young child, Conrad Cornelius O'Donnel O'Dell, is very proud that he has learned the entire alphabet from A to Z. His friend, though, draws another letter and says-

In the places I go there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I'm telling you this 'cause you're one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!"
He then proceeds to describe the alphabet on beyond Zebra.
One of his special letters is NUH.
"And NUH is the letter I use to spell Nutches
Who live in small caves, known as Nitches, for hutches.
These Nutches have troubles, the biggest of which is
The fact there are many more Nutches than Nitches.
Each Nutch in a Nitch knows that some other Nutch
Would like to move into his Nitch very much.
So each Nutch in a Nitch has to watch that small Nitch
Or Nutches who haven't got Nitches will snitch.
The invasive species problem we are all facing in a nutshell. Every native species is a Nutch. Non native and highly invasive species such as Albizia julibrissin (Tree of Heaven); Pueraria montana var. lobata (Kudzu), Passer domesticus (English House Sparrow), or Rattus norvegicus (Norway Rat); don't have a Nitch (niche) of their own here on North America. The only way they can get one is to snitch it.
By Hedgerowe on 09-14-2009, 03:01 PM

Beautiful in its simplicity, TheLorax.
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By biigblueyes on 09-14-2009, 03:08 PM

That's a pretty clever analogy.
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By TheLorax on 09-14-2009, 03:48 PM

This is a great opening for educators to use when working with or introducing the concept of invasives.
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By NEBogger on 09-14-2009, 08:17 PM

I - h a d - t o - r e a d - i t - r e a l - s l o w,- t o - p i c t u r e - t h e -
n u t c h e s - i n - t h e i r - n i t c h e s,- s o - t h e y - w o u l d n ' t - g e t - s n i t c h e d.
And then I got it! And it did make a good analogy.
To TheLorax, a good one.
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By Sage on 09-14-2009, 08:59 PM

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By Pahinh Winh on 10-27-2009, 02:42 PM

Given that the Japanese control Kudzu with winter, which we have in disgusting abundance here in ND, I'd love it if someone would send me some Kudzu so I can plant it to control erosion, which we also have in disgusting abundance. It ain't gonna establish a toehold here! Too much winter. But the roots would remain, holding the sand in place so other (native) species could establish & stay on..
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By TheLorax on 10-27-2009, 08:54 PM

Kudzu is advancing north, it is not exclusively blanketing the southeastern states any longer-
Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas: Kudzu

Kudzu is now documented as having naturalized in Illinois. Climate change may also provide opportunities for kudzu to thrive in regions where it previously had little chance of surviving let alone thriving. I always worry about cold hardy ecotypes and overzealous nurserymen creating varieties better suited to northern reaches.

If you are trying to establish native species, a cover crop of oats might be a better choice to be sown with the native seed.
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By Equilibrium on 10-27-2009, 10:56 PM

The Japanese and Chinese don't control kudzu with winter. Kudzu is native throughout Asia and is at “home” with the species from its own native plant community. There is a system of checks and balances at work when plants are in their natural communities. We imported kudzu to the US without importing the plants and animals that kept its numbers in check in its natural range. When we did this, we gave kudzu the equivalent of diplomatic immunity-
Invasive plants have the equivalent of diplomatic immunity once they hit North American soil. Of course they can successfully out compete our natives when the species of native flora and fauna that kept their numbers in balance in their natural range weren't imported with them.” The really good news is that locally native prairie grasses and wildflowers are much better adapted to the harsh winters you experience in North Dakota and they have the added benefit of providing unparalleled erosion control because of their deep roots. Those deep roots provide the ultimate stabilization of soil and protection from ice damage. When we choose native species over introduced species, we ultimately preserve our natural heritage too.
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By TheLorax on 10-27-2009, 11:14 PM

Diplomatic immunity is a really great way to describe what can happen when we import plants without importing their natural enemies.
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