Braidwood has a small population of platypus living happily along its “willow-infested” urban creeks. They have long been a feature of the town, as have the willows.
Until about 1997 these creeks had virtually no native vegetation. Around that time the urban Landcare group starting planting natives (and killing willows). But even today, these native trees are relatively-small and represent only a tiny fraction of the vegetation cover, the vast majority of which is willow (salix fragilis); others include poplar, elm and privet. This could be described as a ‘non-native’ ecosystem, but non-nativist ecosystem might be more accurate.
Why? Because it still contains plenty of native species (the platypus are just one example), but these natives are living their lives as part of an ecology mainly supported by the photosynthesis of introduced vegetation. The presence of the natives means it can’t be described as a ‘non-native’ system, while the dominant presence of the introduced vegetation shows that non-natives can perform important ecological roles and help to maintain ecosystem function.
Hence, this system functions without conforming to nativist ideology; it’s a ‘non-nativist’ ecosystem rather than a non-native one.
Actually, this is an amazing example of an ecosystem that functions without conforming to any kind of ideology at all!
“How is that even possible?” many of you may ask. “Every book in my local NRM authority office says Australia will fall to pieces without nativist ideology to keep it running properly!”
I know, it’s mind boggling.
So, what’s really going on out there?
Why not have a look for yourself.