Talk:Invasive species

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Good article Invasive species has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.

Colonialists[edit]

Can we modify the language of this article so it's not so easy to sweep colonialists up in the dragnet term "invasive species?" As its written (particularly the first paragraph) the article could easily apply to the mass immigration of non-indigenous industrially-dependent humans to North America. This is unacceptable, obviously, as it reflects poorly on colonialists and characterizes them as "invasive" whereas the real truth is that they are merely "explorers."

The article does specify that "invasive species" can only be fungus, plant, or animal; but the science of the distinction between animal and human comes off as rather spurious in light of 21st century enlightenment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.253.38.27 (talk) 19:12, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

^ "merely"? They were a lot of things. Explorers, yes, but also invaders who committed many deliberate acts of genocide over the course of hundreds of years, wiping out many local populations, including humans and non-humans. Why do you consider it unacceptable to reflect poorly on something that was a major ecological disaster, with many invasive species intentionally introduced, and the local human and animal populations intentionally exterminated? There is no human/animal distinction in science. There is a consensus that humans are animals. However, one note against looking at colonialists as an "invasive species" is that they're the same species as the indigenous humans, with a common ancestor in the very recent past. So they can't really be considered an "invasive species" without also describing the indigenous people, who probably did upset the ecosystem at an earlier time, for example it's suspected that the movement of humans into what's now the Americas led to the extinction of numerous large mammal species. This would tend to characterise humans as invasive, or at least suggest that humans can adopt invasive behaviour given certain conditions. The existence of indigenous groups who live in relative equilibrium with their ecosystem also shows that humans don't need to always be invasive. An analogy could be grasshoppers and locusts. Human exceptionalism just won't do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.48.45.176 (talk) 21:06, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

New controversy section[edit]

I'm going to add a controversy section. I guess there are two issues, the definition being ambiguous - but that I've addressed in the first section. The main controversy I see as Nathan Winograd's argument that the whole concept of invasion biology is xenophobic, saying that some species are more valuable than others. He puts it quite interestingly. Will write that up with a shorter intro to it in the intro section.

Canadianknowledgelover (talk) 23:47, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Hello there, per WP:BRD you have been bold, I have reverted, and now we shall discuss. Unfortunately I have to argue against addition of this material for the following reasons. Firstly, Winograd is not an expert in the field, and the book being used to cite his viewpoints is self-published. Since the material of this section is based upon a single source and that source is not considered reliable by Wikipedia's standards (seeWP:RS) I've had to remove it. Additionally I find the content of the section to be problematic in a few ways. Comparison of support for native species to Nazi Germany is unnecessarily provocative, and stating as fact that it has its roots in Nazi ideology would need extremely good sourcing before it could be added. Invasion ecology has its roots in Charles Elton's 1958 book The Ecology of Invasion by Animals and Plants. Charles Elton is one of the founders of modern ecology and his works formed the basis for what much is being studied today, and I see no evidence that his works were influenced by Nazi ideology. Additionally Winograd makes many arguments which clearly underline his lack of knowledge on the subject.
To claim that 'native' species are somehow better than 'introduced' species equally or better adapted to the environment is to deny the inevitable forces of migration and natural selection
This argument completely ignores the reality being that virtually all modern invasions are driven by human causes, either through breeding and accidentally releasing invasives such as Caulerpa taxifolia or by transplanting organisms that could never by natural means be transplanted to their new locations(black rats from Europe occurring throughout islands in the Pacific). To portray the introduction of species into areas where they never could have arrived without human aid as "the inevitable forces of migration and natural selection" is thus misleading.
Winograd states that identifying which plants or animals were first at a certain location is difficult to ascertain, and often arbitrary
This is also completely incorrect. It is almost trivial to identify which organisms are native to a region.
non-native, ignoring that they provided habitat for birds and other ecological benefits
This was certainly taken into consideration, and it appears Winograd has not considered the substantial theoretical support and (admittedly limited) empirical support for environments composed of native species as ultimately allowing increased numbers of organism to occupy an area as well as improved ecological benefits. This second paragraph reduces the topic of biological invasions to a case study of a single event which it does not provide adequate coverage of.
I will state ideas for criticism that can be included in this article. For one thing, while individual biological invasions can often be shown to be harmful, the fundamental basis for much of invasion biology lacks strong empirical support. Some find the term "invasive" to be applying a negative value judgement to a physical phenomenon which is seen as unscientific, and also there is significant concern over the fact that "invasive" lacks a precise definition.
As a final note I will add that many on Wikipedia, myself included, disapprove of criticism sections(see Wikipedia:Criticism)). For one thing, in order to abide by our neutral point of view policy(WP:NPOV) it doesn't make sense to have a criticism section unless you also have a praise section. I would urge you to consider trying to integrate criticism into the article, rather than isolating it into its own section.AioftheStorm (talk) 02:39, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

I just came across your edit, AioftheStorm. For this discussion, I think it's important to include the text of my original edit in the Controversy section which was removed:

"Animal advocate Nathan Winograd critiques the underlying concept of invasion biology, stating that favouring "native" species over "non-native" has its "roots historically in Nazi Germany, where the notion of a garden with native plants was founded on nationalistic and racist ideas 'cloaked in scientific jargon'" (p. 56).[1] "To claim that 'native' species are somehow better than 'introduced' species equally or better adapted to the environment is to deny the inevitable forces of migration and natural selection" (p. 57).[1] Winograd states that identifying which plants or animals were first at a certain location is difficult to ascertain, and often arbitrary; whereas "all plants and animals were introduced (by wind, humans, migration, or other animals) at some point in time" (p. 56).[1] In particular, humans "are the biggest non-native intruders in the United States", causing environmental and species decimation through habitat destruction and pollution (p. 57).[1]
"Winograd adds that when the environmental movement targets "species for eradication using traps, poisons, fire, and hunting, all of which cause great harm, suffering, and environmental degradation", it is acting against its ultimate goal of creating a peaceful and harmonious relationship between humans and the environment (p. 57).[1] He identified a stretch of healthy trees which were cut down in a national park in the San Francisco area simply because an environmental organization targeted them as non-native, ignoring that they provided habitat for birds and other ecological benefits.[2] Further clear-cutting of half a million eucalyptus trees was expected in the San Francisco Bay area, which would be followed by thousands of gallons of toxic herbicide, reducing forest habitats to "empty, stump-filled graveyards."[3] Winograd states that the invasive biology movement would better be labelled "biological xenophobia" (p. 58).[1]

I agree that mentioning the favouring of native plants in Nazi Germany is challenging, and may disturb some people. Elton's work came long after the phenomenon of Nazi Germany. Perhaps some further research on this subject will shed some light.

Identifying which organisms are "native" or not is really the crux of the issue that Winograd raises, and in my view, his arguments are strong. The time of the organisms' first appearance at a location is indeed an issue. For example, a 2008 study of the "effects of invasive rats on seabirds" comments that "rat introductions began over 2000 years ago" (p. 23).[4] I kid you not. In a period of over 2,000 years, many species of seabirds and other flora and fauna may have emerged; while the rats were there before them! Yet rats are still considered invasive and non-native in locations where they existed for millennia.

I'm not sure why you take issue with the example of tree clearing provided by Winograd in his article on Huffington Post. The article has photographic evidence of what occurred, the loss of trees which contain obvious habitat for birds and other living things; along with photos of an owl and monarch butterflies in eucalyptus trees. You comment that the trees' ecological benefits were "certainly taken into consideration" without providing any references. He is simply pointing out the downside of removal and eradication of targeted tree species.

Winograd's argument about environmental degradation and harm caused by the process of removing or eradicating species is also an important one. Knee-jerk eradication and removals based on a label of "invasive" can lead to unintended consequences for the environment. Winograd is raising issues like this for people to think about.

I appreciate your comment that "the fundamental basis for much of invasion biology lacks strong empirical support. Some find the term 'invasive' to be applying a negative value judgement to a physical phenomenon which is seen as unscientific, and also there is significant concern over the fact that 'invasive' lacks a precise definition." This statement reflects some of what Winograd is saying.

You commented that Winograd's book Irreconcilable Differences, the main source I used, is self-published. That is true, but his arguments can be backed up by independent sources, like the Seabirds study mentioned above. When I first posted this I also included an article Winograd wrote and a website dedicated to the preservation of trees in California. I will keep a lookout for other sources.

Thank you for linking the Wikipedia article about avoiding Controversy sections and the like. When I have seen them elsewhere I have found them helpful as a place to hear about competing views, for a balanced view of the subject. I wonder how the information can otherwise be integrated. One alternative wording suggested is "Critiques", which may be appropriate. It is important to provide a full understanding of a subject by sharing competing views. No one has to agree with the points raised, but they need to be told.

Canadianknowledgelover (talk) 00:43, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Hello there, here is my response:

’’I agree that mentioning the favouring of native plants in Nazi Germany is challenging, and may disturb some people. Elton's work came long after the phenomenon of Nazi Germany. Perhaps some further research on this subject will shed some light.’’

The only type of research that could support a claim connecting invasive plant species to Nazism is research performed by a qualified historian looking into primary sources about Charles Elton detailing such a connection and published by a reliable publisher. I should note to Nathan Winograd that you could make similar claims about animal rights, the Nazis had the most progressive laws on animal rights in their time period, and much of Germany’s current animal rights laws today were originally enacted under the Nazi regime. But it would be similarly inappropriate to state that modern animal rights advocates have their roots in Nazism without a very strong source to support it.

’’Identifying which organisms are "native" or not is really the crux of the issue that Winograd raises, and in my view, his arguments are strong. The time of the organisms' first appearance at a location is indeed an issue. For example, a 2008 study of the "effects of invasive rats on seabirds" comments that "rat introductions began over 2000 years ago" (p. 23).[4] I kid you not. In a period of over 2,000 years, many species of seabirds and other flora and fauna may have emerged; while the rats were there before them! Yet rats are still considered invasive and non-native in locations where they existed for millennia.’’

This example doesn’t highlight the difficulties in determining if something is native or not because anything younger than 2,000 years old would be considered non-native. As far as rats go though, they are obviously invasive, they were introduced throughout the world’s islands in the past few thousand years by man sailing around, and where they have landed they have wreaked havoc on local ecosystems, wiping out thousands of populations of birds/insects/plants/mammals/invertebrate/etc. A good example of a borderline case is the California walnut. ‘’Juglans californica’’ was previously distributed throughout California, but during the last ice age 10,000 years ago its distribution was pushed down to southern California. It is currently debated whether or not California walnut should be considered an invasive in northern California. But that debate doesn’t stem around not knowing when ‘’Juglans californica’’ last existed in northern California, that is already known.

’’I’m not sure why you take issue with the example of tree clearing provided by Winograd in his article on Huffington Post.’’

I take issue with the idea that its an example of “Knee-jerk eradication and removals based on a label of "invasive””. Here is the 1084 page Draft Environmental Impact Report for the UCSF Mount Sutro Management Project. The University of California San franscico developed this plan over many years, and after looking at it I do not believe you will still agree with the statement that thinning the eucalyptus was planned “simply because an environmental organization targeted them as non-native, ignoring that they provided habitat for birds and other ecological benefits.” It should also be noted that fire fighting organizations hugely support the removal of eucalyptus as it is seen as being extremely flammable and is partly blamed for a very large and deadly fire in Oakland in 1991. Ultimately you need to just find something like an article published in a respectable peer-reviewed journal talking about misguided removal of invasives causing ecological harm. If that is occurring then it should be getting reported on somewhere in academia.AioftheStorm (talk) 00:10, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

"Invasive species" aren't necessarily introduced[edit]

The definition of "invasive species" in the lede of this article is incorrect. Bueller 007 (talk) 23:13, 17 March 2016 (UTC)

Simberloff, 2010: "Although the great majority of invasive species are introduced, occasionally native plant species have become invasive, spreading rapidly into previously unoccupied habitats. These invasions fall into two categories, both involving human activities. In the first, a native species that is rather restricted in range and habitat is supplemented with introductions from afar that have new genotypes, and the new genotypes, or recombinants involving the new genotypes, become invasive...The second category of native invasives arises from human modification of the environment."

Nile crocodile in Florida[edit]

2016-05-22
Man-eating crocodiles surface in Florida swamps
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/21/african-nile-crocodiles-captured-florida
200.187.116.13 (talk) 08:17, 23 July 2016 (UTC)


Management tools for controlling invasive species[edit]

It is a well written wiki article, but this article can be improved by adding some management tools for invasive species. Especially, management of Yellow Starthitle can be crucial to some National parks in California to keep their biodiversity and to manage problematic invasive species.

Consider. Impacts of Invasive Species on Rangelands, John M. Conner [5]— Preceding unsigned comment added by Dongchanyang (talkcontribs) 04:41, 28 April 2017 (UTC)Dongchanyang (talk) 04:46, 28 April 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b c d e f Nathan J. Winograd, Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart & Soul of America's Animal Shelters (2009) CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN 978-1-4495-9113-7.
  2. ^ "Biological Xenophobia: The Environmental Movement's War on Nature", Nathan Winograd, Huffington Post, June 6, 2013.
  3. ^ "Our Mission", Death of a Million Trees, accessed August 31, 2014.
  4. ^ "Severity of the Effects of Invasive Rats on Seabirds: A Global Review", Holly P. Jones et al., Conservation Biology, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 16-26.
  5. ^ Impacts of Invasive Species on Rangelands, John M. Conner, 26 2003 Proceedings of the California Weed Science Society (Volume 55)http://www.cwss.org/uploaded/media_pdf/7602-007_2003.pdf