[permaculture] Exotic Plant Erradication

Claude Genest genest at together.net
Sun Aug 11 02:04:06 EDT 2002

I appreciate this reply, Kirby....

I saw the pics of the water hyacinth and thought, "that's more of a solution
than a problem"  If the water wasn't so "nutrient rich" the water hyacinth
wouldn't be there in such numbers - it can only multiply in proportion to
available food...it's there to clean the water.  Same deal for the much
maligned zebra mussel around here....Native fresh water mussels have been
disappering because man has altered the conditions in which they live -
Zebra mussels are moving in to fill the void. Bless 'em !
I Also always think of  Vermont's state flower which is the red clover..
it's a non-native, invasive exotic, and where would we be without it ?

Last thought : NATURE DOESN"T MAKE MISTAKES ! She knows exactly what she's
doing -  

> From: "Kirby Fry" <peace at totalaccess.net>
> Reply-To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2002 09:32:20 -0500
> To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [permaculture] Exotic Plant Erradication
> Hi Carla,
>>> When you visit the Big Thicket, there will be no grand vistas or
> majestic mountain ranges to tantalize your eyes. However, you will see, when
> you choose to look closely around you, a unique assemblage of species--some
> endangered or threatened. This is the place called The Big Thicket.  <<
> Indeed, I've been to the Big Thicket and appreciate its density and
> diversity.  I believe it's quite the framework for other preservation
> efforts, especially when it comes to the practice of connecting biological
> islands with conservation corridors.
>>> Exotic plant invasions; plant-animal interactions; biodiversity  <<
> Wow, how did you get a hold of all of that information?  Looks like some
> very interesting stuff.
> Allow me to steer our conversation to the topic of eradicating exotics which
> is usually a very hot topic, and certainly the following commentary is not
> directed at anyone personally.
> I've spoken with many folks from the Native Plant Society of Texas and the
> Society of Ecological Restoration about the roll of the tallow tree in Texas
> ecosystems.
> I've heard that, and I'm sure the studies you sited are more thorough and
> better rounded out that what I've gleaned from casual conversation, exotics
> are the number two cause of species extinction, that trees like the tallow
> and China berry have no natural predators and will therefor overtake an
> ecosystem, generate a monoculture of themselves and provide negligible
> benefits to the soil and wildlife around them.
> These folks are ready to cut down any and all tallow and China berry trees
> they come across.  If they had $40,000 for a project they might well spend
> it on eradicating tallow trees and planting grasses and wildflowers, rather
> than say, installing a permaculture.
> My response is that, they themselves are exotic species to this continent
> and that if exotic plants are the number two cause of species extinction
> then surely the number one cause is exotic humans.  For starters, at least
> half of our agriculture consists of exotic plants including the soy bean
> which many vegetarians take some ethical refuge in for eating.
> What should we address foremost, our behavior or the exotic plants that have
> exscape our grasp?
> It also seems to me that, the areas hardest hit by all exotic species are
> disturbed edges, e.g. road ways, developments butted up to woodlands or
> prairies, man made lakes and waterways, etc.  It's quite possible, when
> looking through another set of lenses that, these exotic plants are the
> beginning of natural succession rather than the end of it.  I've heard first
> hand accounts of red maple, birch and oak coming up under tallow stands.
> A frutivery study done in Louisiana also revealed that the tallow tree was
> on the top of the list as a food source for birds and more species of birds
> ate from tallow than most other trees.  How else would it get around so
> well?
> So what it comes down to is one's paradigm.  How do we regard and treat
> other life forms?  Do we wage a gene cleansing campaign against "exotic"
> plants and usr fossil fuels to push down trees, pull down vines and pay
> Monsanto for round-up to apply on Johnson and Bermuda grass?  Since the
> plants are here do they have the right to stay, as we have surely given
> ourselves that right, even though they may cause some species losses?  Is
> Nature actually using these plants to guide our ecosystems towards greater
> stability and diversity?
> I don't know about others on this list, but my arm gets heavier and heavier
> every time I raise it to cut a tree... any tree.
> Kirby Fry
> For the real scoop on environmental and social justice issues check out the
> archives of Democracy Now!
> http://www.webactive.com/webactive/pacifica/demnow/archive.html
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