A Plea For Tolerance Towards 'Non-Native' Plants

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Over the past few decades, an incredible amount of time and money has been spent trying to remove populations of "non-native" plants. But according to a panel of ecologists, climate change, urbanization and other changes in land use have largely invalidated the theory that foreign plants are inherently harmful to their newly adopted ecosystems.

Mark Davis, professor and the chair of the Biology Department at Macalester College, speaks with us. Davis wrote an article supporting his theory in the latest issue of Nature magazine.

professor and the chair of the Biology Department at Macalester [Mick-CAL-ist-er] College. Mark wrote an article supporting his theory in the latest issue of Nature magazine.




Dr. Mark Davis

Produced by:

Joseph Capriglione

Comments [5]

Margaret from Manhattan

We introduced cattle into the Midwest for the convenience of our food supply,which makes them invasives, and part of our lack of foresight that created the Dust Bowl. A lecture at American Museum of Natural History years ago explained the organic relationship of prairie dogs and the land, and advocated returning them to that habitat. I'm with Peg from Southern Tier - the humans have to get it right in the 21st C, or there'll be nobody left.

Jun. 09 2011 03:11 PM
Shayna from Boston area

Professor Davis claims that non-native plants don't harm the ecosystem. Say what?!? My understanding is that inordinate numbers of insects, birds, and their predators are disappearing because they can't eat the non-natives that are rapidly taking over.

He says there's no scientific evidence for this. I refer everyone to Doug Tallamy's book, Bringing Nature Home.

Yes, let's hear the other side of the story.

Jun. 09 2011 10:06 AM
Barbara M Thiers

pronounciation correction: Phragmites is pronounced: frag MY tees.

Also, detect a slight bias in your guests perspective -- he acknowledges that non-native fish are a problem in the Great Lakes, but somehow doesn't accept that non-native plants can be a similar problem. He should look into the loss in native species and revenue from the invasive Cheat Grass

Jun. 09 2011 09:31 AM
Steve from Vienna Austria

What about re-introduction of native species? In Italy and Germany the have tried to re-introduce bears to the Alps, and have had to shoot the bears. Oops!

Jun. 09 2011 07:58 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

Humans are the biggest "non-native" threat to global environments. We have overpopulated the planet beyond it's carrying capacity and we are still breeding like fruit flies. Why worry about plants in wrong places, when we are the major problem challenging Earth?

Jun. 09 2011 06:18 AM

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