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For Your Perusal

Posted by kenptn z6b TN (My Page) on
Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 12:53

By Stephen Jay Gould.

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RE: For Your Perusal

We need the whole URL without the periods in the "/p...ed/" part

RE: For Your Perusal

and you can paste it in the box below where you type, titled:

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thereby making it clickable


RE: For Your Perusal

RE: For Your Perusal

This has been posted before but I can't find the link to the topic atm...

His arguments have gaping flaws. The biggest in my eyes is the fact he doesn't even acknowledge the coevolution between bacteria, insects, animals, and the native plants. Yes, callery pears grow great and out compete native plants here, but how many organisms benefit from their presence as opposed to the native plants and grasses that would otherwise occupy the same area the callery pear does? It would seem his arguments suggest all global species of plants should be introduced to all the land masses and let the strongest survive which would have an enormously detrimental effect on the entire food chain starting as a tiny ripple at the bottom and ending with the top predators of each affected area.

If one enjoys the local native diversity, native species (or recently extirpated) should be favored to maintain what biological diversity that remains. We are already in the middle of mass extinction event, why aggravate the situation further by planting non natives that do not adequately or efficiently contribute to the food chain thereby putting stress on the local natives that require a specific set of conditions in the food chain to survive?

I had to write this hastily and I hope my thoughts were clearly conveyed!

Edit: I just skimmed the article since I thought I remembered most of his drivel from the last reading. Turns out I was right about most of it! However, he does spend 1 paragraph defending natives because he doesn't want to see McDonalds (callery pear) taking over the local diners (native sumac, smoketree, hophornbeam etc). Of course, he completely ignores all the creatures big and small who depend on those local diners to continue their species that could also be wiped out or greatly diminished given enough time.

"As a final ethical pomt (and I raise this issue
as a concerned human bemg, not as a scientist,
for my profession can offer no direct moral
insight/, I do understand the appeal of the ethical
argument that we should leave nature alone
and preserve as much as we can of what existed
and developed before our very recent geological
appearance. Like all evolutionary biologists, I
treasure nature’s bounteous diversity of species
(the thought of half a million described species
of beetles-and many more yet undescribedfills
me with an awe that can only be called reverent).
And I do understand that much of this
variety lies in geographic diversity (different
organisms evolved in similar habitats in many
places on our planet, as a result of limits and
accidents of access). I would certainly be horrified
to watch the botanical equivalent of
McDonalds’ uniform architecture and cuisine
wiping out every local diner in America. Cherishing
native plants does allow us to defend and
preserve a maximal amount of local variety."

This post was edited by j0nd03 on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 15:04

RE: For Your Perusal

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 15:34

A lot will have to do with how invasive the (non-native) plant truely is, however in some cases you won't know until its too late. There are too many examples to count, take Asian Carp's effect on the great lakes for example outside the plantae kingdom.

At the end of the day I don't get too passionate about invasive plants as we, humans, are the invasive ones. Think about your home, your place of work, all the stores you go to, all the consumables you consume, the emmissions, etc, etc. Totally off topic on a tree forum, but we look past the things we take for granted that in reality are truly non-native invasives.

RE: For Your Perusal

Yes, whaas, there is a huge difference between 1 or 2 escaped ginkgo seedlings on an acre compared to an acre overtaken with callery pears!!! And as you stated, even the escaped gingko or two can't ultimately be trusted to stay in the background of the new environment forever. We are only human and the limits of our understanding complex relationships of newly introduced non natives into new habitats leaves much to be desired at this point in time.

Also, slow change to the flora can be accommodated by the fauna. Rapid change (like meadows turning into pear forests) is much harder to adapt to obviously.

RE: For Your Perusal

It seems like author Gould is taking somewhat of an environmental and ecological "que sera, sera" stance.


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