June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
You may not yet have heard about an ongoing debate on how to best take care of northwest Michigan’s wild, scenic places. Whereas some gauge the quality of an ecosystem by how many natives are present and how many invasives are not, others say “native to when?” and believe exotic plants can often outperform natives in building biodiversity and ecosystem health. Often we find the answers are never as simple as “invasives bad,” “native’s good” so we’re exited to explore the nuances of this controversial topic and come to a deeper understanding of the issue, and the ecosystems we live within.
Join Etcetera’s for a night of lively, but civil and nuanced conversation. Matthew Bertrand (Grand Traverse Conservation District and the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network), and Bruce Holland-Moritz (The Greenman LLC.) will each present their perspective, then Brad Kik (ISLAND) will moderate a discussion with the panelists and audience.
To get a taste of the subject matter, here’s a sampling of articles to check out…
Don’t Judge Species on Their Origins - “Specifically, policy and management decisions must take into account the positive effects of many invaders. During the 1990s, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared several species of introduced honeysuckles to be alien (harmful), and banned
their sale in more than 25 states. Ironically, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the USDA had introduced many of these same species in land reclamation projects, and to improve bird habitats. Recent data suggest that the agency’s initial instincts may have been appropriate. In Pennsylvania, more non-native honeysuckles mean more native bird species. Also the seed dispersal of native berry-producing plants is higher in places where non-native honeysuckles are most abundant.”
Invasive Species: Guilty Until Proven Innocent? - ”Science-based conservation cannot be about knee-jerk platitudes and simple views of good and evil. Policy experts and conservationists who have been working hard to control invasive species should not discourage arguments about invasive species — the fact is we cannot control all invasive species, and in many cases, yesterday’s invaders have become plants and animals that are beloved by local people. The concept of “nativeness” did not even really appear in the literature until the mid-19th century, the construct of the British botanists John Henslow and (later) Hewitt (H.C.) Watson.”
Chalker-Scott on Natives and Introductions – “So let’s starting with definition of “native”. According to Linda, that here-before-the-Europeans thing isn’t as clear-cut as we think. For example, the Ginkgo biloba is considered an Asian plant, yet its fossils can be found in Washington State, where it grew millions of years ago. Concludes the good hort doctor: “Defining a plant as native based on what existed in a landscape before European immigration ignores the influence that earlier human cultures, animals, natural forces, and natural selection have on plant introductions and distribution.” And ” This is not a rational approach to understanding the dynamic character of landscapes either in natural or urban areas.”"
Native and Non-native Species: How Much Attention Should Managers Be Paying to Origins? – (Conservation Science Webinar Series Recording)
Put aside your fixed notions about natives, invasives and exotics, and learn new ways of preserving, conserving, restoring and regenerating the ecology of the places we love. You may never look at autumn olive the same way again.