Essays of a Peripheral Mind: Invasions of the landscape snatchers

TitleEssays of a Peripheral Mind: Invasions of the landscape snatchers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHavstad K
ARIS Log Number249360
AbstractLiterally thousands of species have invaded the North American continent over recent centuries/millennia. Some, like creosote bush, have been here so long we do not even think of them as exotic. Others, like Kentucky bluegrass, pheasants and wine grapes are so imbedded in our native or cultivated landscapes that they are regarded as naturalized. In fact, the collapse of one, the honey bee, has created real concern and caused considerable resources to be mobilized in an effort to recover this exotic species. Some, like hemp, that were brought here for certain purposes have taken on different dimensions and create a certain madness that won’t recede until we view them in a more mature and balanced light. One, the variola virus that causes small pox, has been eradicated in response to a globally organized effort. Some are relatively benign. At this time only a few dominate our thinking and our energies. In reality, one of the values of governments and government-sponsored research is the ability to coordinate and mobilize efforts across political boundaries. Our capacities today to contend with the real threats of exotic origins, like new viruses, the Asian citrus psyllid sweeping into the southern U.S., and the round goby threatening the Great Lakes, require this blending of scientific, management and policy strategies and tactics across our artificial boundaries which don’t constrain these species. Without this coordination these species introductions, which a time line of invasion history teaches us are inevitable in many regards, can have severe and unacceptable impacts beyond our capacities to either mitigate or adapt.