Monthly Archives: April 2015

Exotics versus Natives: Why not both?

Exotics versus Natives: Why not both?‘ is the title of a conference paper authored by Paul Naninnga, Paul Dann and Haikai Tane. It was delivered at the 1994 National Greening Australia conference in Fremantle. I’ve tried to find a copy online in the past, to no avail, so recently sourced a beat up old photocopy from, co-author, Paul Dann which I’ve scanned and am making available here:


I’ve also added it to our useful publications page.

A pioneering work on the topic of nativism and its more realistic and pragmatic alternatives. Twenty years on, it is still razor sharp and pertinent to an enlightened perspective on practical environmental and agricultural engagement in landcare, today and for the future.

Greening Australia has provided permission to reproduce with attribution–see below for the full reference for this publication.

To get you started I have provided the abstract, but be sure to read the entire paper. It is a very readable document and makes many enlightened points.

Exotics versus Natives: Why not both?

by Paul Nanniga, Paul Dann and Haikai Tane.


The adversarial notion of exotics versus natives is an ecological misconception, and the idea that one is better than the other is unscientific on ecological grounds. In order to survive, and for cultural reasons, Homo sapiens has interacted with the landscape for at least a hundred thousand years through hunting, fishing, food gathering, seed dispersal, burning, clearing, urbanising, grazing and cropping. However, new and dynamic ecosystems have been created through a process of continual adaptation, and native and exotic biota have formed new interdependencies.

A disturbing new development has been the cult of “nativism” which emphasises the exclusive use of native biota. Implicit in this doctrine is the belief that native organisms, or ecosystems, are inherently superior to those which exist through human activity. This leads to policies favouring the exclusive use of natives. Continue reading