Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the news

From EurekaAlert!
  • Introduced parasitoid (Lathrolestes nigricollis) knocks back birch leafminers in the American northeast.
  • China's "Green Great Wall", a forest shelterbelt running parallel to the Great Wall "could lead to an increase in precipitation by up to 20 percent and decrease the temperature in the area."
  • High levels of nitrogen in the Seymour Aquifer in Texas makes much of the water unsuitable for human consumption, but could reduce fertiliser addition when used for irrigation.
From Science Daily
  • Plants moving north as the climate warms may have better defenses than native plants, giving the invaders an edge.
  • Hybrid vigour in crop plants attributed to "increased expression of genes involved in photosynthesis and starch metabolism in hybrids and polyploids. These genes were expressed at high levels during the day, several-fold increases over their parents."
  • Non-target insects are affected more by pesticides than by GM crops which express insecticides.

1 comment:

Edwin Gardner said...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Kim Weiss, blueplate pr
919-272-8615; kim@blueplatenc.com

SUSTAINING THE ECOSYSTEM:
SCENIC PLANNER MAKES THE CASE AGAINST ALIENS

June 11, 2009 (CHARLESTON, SC) -- If we fill our parks, lawns or scenic byways with non-native plant material, we might as well pave them over, according to planner Edwin Gardner of Heritage Strategy Group in Charleston, South Carolina.

Gardner is an advocate of the concepts Douglas W. Tallamy discusses in his book "Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants."

In a recent post to Heritage Strategy Group’s blog -- heritagestrategy.wordpress.com -- Gardner says he agrees with Tallamy’s central point “that we owe it to the environment to plant only native species, which provide food for our increasingly beleaguered wildlife and avoid apocalyptic risks to the ecosystem.”

What are native species? Gardner agrees with Tallamy who defines ‘native’ as “having the ability to support a large number of insect and animal species.” Exotic plants brought from other countries that have been “naturalized” here even for hundreds of years are not native, he insists, since they can’t support native insect life.

For example: “Our North American caterpillars have not developed the ability to eat leaves of most alien plants,” Gardner says. While that may be music to the ears of nurseries and landscapers who seekout insect-resistant plant material, to the natural ecosystem chain, it’s disastrous.

“In fact, the caterpillar is a most generous beast,” Gardner says. “It provides food for most birds, especially during critical nesting periods, and forms the base of a food pyramid that’s critical to the whole ecosystem. A yard full of foreign nursery stock may look green and natural, but it might as well be paved with asphalt if you’re a caterpillar, or an animal that’s looking to feed on one.”

As a heritage planner, Edwin Gardner develops recreational areas and scenic byways so that growth and prosperity do not interfere with the cultural, historical and natural heritage of the effected areas. That mission drew him to Douglas Tallamy’s book.

“As we develop byway beautification plans or park management plans or anything that involves plantings in a developed area, we have a responsibility to urge that non-native species be eliminated and replaced with true native species,” he insists.

Gardner cites several examples of “environmental destruction wrought by alien organisms and invasive plants that were brought from overseas to beautify America.” To read the entire discussion, visit heritagestrategy.wordpress.com and click on “ A New Philosophy on Landscaping.”