New York Times: Non-Native Species Contribute to “Mother Nature’s Melting Pot”

In the March 17 Gazette, Alexandra Dawson cautioned against well-intentioned efforts to “improve” wetlands, as opposed to giving them adequate buffer zones and leaving them undisturbed. An opinion piece by Hugh Raffles in the April 2 New York Times underscores this sentiment, cautioning against indiscriminate attempts to eradicate non-native species:

Mother Nature’s Melting Pot

…just as America is a nation built by waves of immigrants, our natural landscape is a shifting mosaic of plant and animal life. Like humans, plants and animals travel, often in ways beyond our knowledge and control. They arrive unannounced, encounter unfamiliar conditions and proceed to remake each other and their surroundings.

Designating some as native and others as alien denies this ecological and genetic dynamism. It draws an arbitrary historical line based as much on aesthetics, morality and politics as on science, a line that creates a mythic time of purity before places were polluted by interlopers…

And in any case, efforts to restore ecosystems to an imagined pristine state almost always fail: once a species begins to thrive in a new environment, there’s little we can do to stop it. Indeed, these efforts are often expensive and can increase rather than relieve environmental harm…

Click for the complete article

See also:

Video: A Close Look at the Presentation of the Wetlands Ordinance to City Council on 9/20/07

Gazette guest column: “Don’t ease controls on wetlands” (10/25/07)

Japanese Knotweed and Multiflora Rose: Is Herbicide the Answer?
[Japanese knotweed:] Once established, F. japonica is very difficult to eradicate and removal efforts may have further adverse impacts on the soil or other plants…

In contrast to a relatively short program of toxic herbicides–extraordinary or not–the long-term, low-risk, environmentally gentle solution to these invasive species appears to be bringing the ecology back into balance, allowing and in some cases encouraging the natural predators of knotweed and multiflora rose to feast on their abundance. Additionally, preserving mature trees will help control knotweed.

Gazette Reports on January 22 Kohl Condo Hearings; Pictures of the Latest Proposal; Conservation Staff Report; HYLA Critique 
[Dr. Bryan Windmiller:] …the applicant proposes to mitigate the impacts of buffer zone disturbance by disturbing even more area of inner buffer zone and forested wetland itself.  This mitigation effort will, in fact, only worsen the impacts to the wetlands bordering Millyard Brook…