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

Kirby Fry peace at totalaccess.net
Mon Jul 8 09:19:05 EDT 2002

Hello Heide,

>>  What do they call "exotic" plant species  <<

China berry tree, Chinese tallow tree, most bamboo, taro (elephant ear), Johnson grass, King Ranch blue stem grass, many thistles and brambles, kudzu (sp?), water hyacinth, zebra muscles, hydrilla, just to name a few.

>>  all our food plants that were originally imported from other continents?  <<

I believe several varieties of corn, beans, tomatoes and squash are from North America, and the potato comes from South America.  One thing for certain, though, the soy bean is one of our largest moncultures and it comes from Asia.  Soy may not be invasive on its own, but when sown behind a plow it certainly has done a good job taking over American farm lands.  Many folks advocating the eradication of invasive exotics are tofu eating vegetarians.

>>  Weeds? Urban ornamental gardens?  <<

Now, you're talking.  These are the main ones they're after, the ones I mentioned above.  I'm all for using native plants for landscaping but I personally draw the line when it comes to using round-up and other means of systematic eradication.  This all starts getting really close to ethnic cleansing if you ask me.  I'd rather start in a denuded pasture or fallow field with nothing but a few mangy forbes and grasses on them and work my way up successionally, than attempt to eradicate a stand of invasive trees and shrubs.

A student once asked Mollison how to best go into a stand of cedar and clear out for a homestead.  Bill emphatically replied that, "You don't!" much to the chagrin of the student.

>>  I'd like to see some of the original research / statistics on this.  <<

You and me both.   I'm going to ask my friend who quoted this to me to produce the study.

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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