Invasive species: What to do?
Invasive species: What to do? An Sept. 5, 2016 article in the High Country News by Zack Coleman titled “Time to Make Peace with Invasive Species” ( discusses the issue of invasive species in the Sonoran desert. The immediate problem concerns invasive species buffelgrass which has been “crowding out” native species such as cactus. Though this case involves plant species rather than wildlife directly, it illustrates a debate between the “new” and traditional conservation camps over invasive species. How much emphasis, if any at all, should be spent to eliminate the invasive species? Stephen Jackson of the Department of the Interior’s Southwest Climate Science Center says that these species have become so pervasive that a return to “status quo ante” is impossible for them and that a “triage” approach needs to be used. Indeed, Coleman quotes Jackson as stating that “And then the more intensively we have to manage to maintain those ecosystems in a museum-piece-like context, it’s no longer a natural system; it’s an intensively managed system that’s aspiring to some putatively natural standard that has become an –anachronism.” This sounds similar to the positon of Emma Marris author of The Rambunctious Garden who has critiqued the attachment of traditional conservationists to “native species” and has argued that invasives can contribute to a greater biomass and perhaps substitute for the loss of native species. Although Jackson rejects the notion the invasives are inherently harmful, he agrees that is the case with respect to buffelgrass: “I don’t really see any value in it. Nothing that I or most other people value about the natural world is there in a buffelgrass-dominated ecosystem compared to the beautiful and diverse Sonoran Desert ecosystem. This is a novel ecosystem that in my view should not be embraced.” Jackson’s position in this case does not help to establish any general principle on when an invasive should be resisted. Coleman’s article is available at:
Leave a Reply.
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.