Tag Archives: invasion

Non-native invader spread by unnatural bird sex shock horror!

I’m sorry, this isn’t really a post about unnatural bird sex, it’s about mycology in general and truffles in particular. But, there is a non-nativist ecological link, and the bird sex provides a pertinent example. I return to this a bit later on.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a worldclass lecture on mycology right here in Braidwood as part of the inaugural “Truffle Time in the ‘Wood” festival. The presenters were Professor James Trappe, Dr Andrew Claridge and Todd Elliott. What follows is principally my recollection of the information presented by these three engaging speakers. The festival as a whole involved too many folks to mention individually in this post, but see below for a summary of participants and contributors.*

I’m not a mycologist, but I’d always thought I had a workable understanding of the ecology of fungi, they’re the decomposers of our ecosystems, right? They breakdown dead bodies and wastes and release various nutrients back into ecological circulation. Apart from the odd fruiting body, they’re hard to spot, mostly underground; very much out of sight and out of mind.

I now realise, I didn’t know what I didn’t know about fungi, and there’s a lot going on that’s worth considering. Continue reading

Awesome interview with Tao Orion, author of ‘Beyond the War on Invasive Species: a Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration’

Tao Orion is the author of new book available from Chelsea Green Publishing, titled ‘Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration‘. The book is available to order from the publisher here.

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I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to getting my own copy. I’m writing this brief post to highlight an awesome interview with Tao Orion that is available here on the Organic Consumers Association website.

In just this brief interview, Tao provides a very insightful read and I’d urge everyone with an interest in the future to have a look.

I’ve included three short excerpts here to tempt you:

The “ethical corruption” that Holmgren describes is the dangerous trend in the science of invasion and restoration ecology to narrowly focus on restoration as a practice of attempting to return certain ecosystems to an idealized former state. This concept paints invasive and novel organisms as disruptive to ecosystems, and tends to miss the bigger picture of how ecosystems have changed and are constantly changing in response to human and non-human impacts upon them. That large conservation and restoration organizations like The Nature Conservancy are allied with pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto, which have essentially manufactured the war on invasive species for their own financial benefit, is something that we have to think about very closely. This approach for managing species invasions does little to restore ecological functionality, especially on a larger scale.” –Tao Orion

Invasive species don’t have special powers and aren’t inherently malignant. From an ecological perspective, they are exploiting available niches. This is one of the main reasons that eradication doesn’t work – because unless the niches are changed in ways that encourage native or other desired species to flourish, eradicating invasive species achieves no measurable ecological benefit.” –Tao Orion

When you see an invasive species, instead of automatically thinking of its ‘negative’ qualities, think about what it is doing in the ecosystem where it is found. Do pollinators use it? Is it controlling erosion? Start thinking less in terms of the organism and more in terms of the ecosystem that supports it. What has changed in recent history that may contribute to the proliferation of invasive species? Critical to this understanding is an acknowledgement of how indigenous land management shaped and structured ecosystems—including plant and animal population diversity and abundance—and that lack of this management has facilitated invasion processes even in areas considered ‘natural’ or ‘wild.’ Invasive species are directly related to changes in land management, from highly degraded to ecosystems to seemingly ‘pristine’ areas, and learning more about the cultural history of ecosystem management is critical to seeing invasion processes as a predictable outcome of the type and scale of these changes.” –Tao Orion

Read more here.

Will this new plant invade everything everywhere?

Yesterday I went exploring along the riparian zone of the Flood Creek willow forest. I saw some interesting stuff which will be part of an upcoming post, but I also found a plant I hadn’t seen there before. It looks familiar, but I can’t name it for sure. I’d guess rhododendron, but not certain about the serrated leaves.

I’m worried it might be invasive and going to take over the whole world! Continue reading