[permaculture] Exotic Species: #2 Cause of Extinction?

Kirby Fry peace at totalaccess.net
Thu Jul 4 21:38:25 EDT 2002


Has anyone heard the figure that exotic plant species are the number two cause of species extinction in the U.S.A?  I'm hearing it a lot from the native plant societies.  My first response to this is; what's the number three cause?  It sounds like this snippet may come from a study which lumps all DIRECT human disturbances into one category - i.e. farming and urbanization fall into "direct disturbance," and then exotic plants somehow not belonging in the number one category and sweeping second place.

This factoid is also referred to often by ecosystem restoration and prairie enthusiasts and aimed like a weapon at non-native vegetation - i.e. China-berry, Chinese tallow trees, bastard cabbage, Johnson grass, and many others exotics of which I'm sure you've had your local culprit.  

My question, however, is how much money and time do we spend on exotic / invasive (including native invasives) species eradication? Has there ever been a species eradication project that didn't require perpetual maintenance?  Can exotics naturalize in a symbiotic manner?

Fukuoka rather surprised me in his third book, "The Road Less Traveled," when he recommended the heavy use of pesticides to control an inevitable outbreak of the Mediterranean fruit fly in Japan.  Even Mollison told me to get rid of a patch of Georgia Cain or elephant grass.


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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