Global warming could spread US ragweed to UK, causing misery for hayfever sufferers

Climate change could help the invasive weed from north America, that triggers severe allergic reactions, become common across the UK by 2050, experts have warned Climate change could help a notorious invasive weed known to trigger severe allergy…  Source:

GR:  Over recent centuries, people have introduced many invasive species to North and South America.  New World invasive species are fewer, but there have been a few troublesome species introduced to the Old World.  One should note that most of the damage caused by invasive species is by replacing native species.  Whole ecosystems can collapse if too many natives are lost.

See on Scoop.itGarryRogers NatCon News

Why invasive plants are second biggest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss

As experts gather in London for a major conference addressing the often overlooked threat of invasive species to biodiversity, Carrie Madren gets a briefing from those on the frontline in the battle against ‘pest plants’…Source:

GR:  I reached the same conclusion about invasive plants, but as the symptoms of global warming grow stronger, I am shifting my central focus to another lost cause–leaving fossil fuels in the ground. The photo shows a barren area carpeted by invasive plants.  Ninety percent of the native shrubs are gone.

Converting A ‘Weedy’ Grass To Quality Forage For Livestock

Messing with Nature and Calling it Range Management


Purple threeawn

“While native plants are adapted to thrive in our region, they don’t always provide the best forage for livestock or wildlife. But what if you could change that? What if you could convert bad forage to good? That’s the question Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Lance Vermeire asked when studying purple threeawn, a decidedly less than…”


welfare ranchingGR:  The ignorance displayed by this range manager is shocking.  It should remind us all that focusing too closely on a single goal can cause us to overlook critical alternatives.  This article describes an instance where managing nature to benefit domestic livestock creates a willingness to take chances.  Range managers have gambled on new techniques and new species for many years.  They ignore negative possibilities and focus on their goal—more food for cows or sheep. They do not consider ecosystem responses to their new techniques.  They do not consider the effects on on soil microorganisms, and they do not worry about future invasion potential. The result of similar “range management” has been the loss of more than 100-million acres of productive native grasslands and shrublands in the western U. S.  Go here to read more about the results of foolhardy management of rangelands.

Invasive Species

For several years I’ve been observing, documenting and appreciating nature and the environment in Michigan. During those years, I’ve discovered some of the subjects I’ve photographed and written ab… Source:

GR:  After direct habitat destruction by building, invasive species are the most destructive force that humans have dispersed through Earth ecosystems.  Long before global warming has its day, invasive species will have eliminated many native habitats and species.

Statewide Pesticide Use–California Draft Environmental Impact Report

California Statewide Pesticide Use

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program.


GR:  The EIR considers approaches and alternatives and describes an “Environmentally Superior Alternative” that seems more destructive than beneficial.  The Alternative does not appear to me to be prudent in light of recent determinations of the harmful consequences of pesticide use.

A “No Pesticide Alternative,” is included, but its description criticizes the alternative in the first sentence.  The Department says, “It could cause other adverse environmental impacts because alternative management methods are not anticipated to be as effective in controlling or managing pests.”

There are guidelines for the safe use of pesticides, but I believe guidelines are outdated and inadequate.  As native species and ecosystems are damaged, invasive species spread even more quickly. Moreover, invasive species evolve pesticide resistance.  The continued use of pesticides-while ecosystems decline and super bugs form is a short-term (rape and pillage) strategy.

Throughout the report, the Department fails to consider recommending changing crops and practices to avoid pest impacts.  Of course, we might have passed the point where we can feed our growing population without pesticides.  In this case, we can look forward to a time of forced population decline.  When our ecosystems fail to moderate storms and floods, and they stop absorbing toxic wastes from the farms, food production will fall.

The full report and the address for comments are available here.

Invasive Plants Are Destroying North American Desert Ecosystems

Invasive species, like storm troopers leading the surging ruin of global warming, are overwhelming Earth’s ecosystems.

Introduction to Invasive Plants in Deserts

One or a few species of invasive plants can replace native plant communities across entire landscapes. Biodiversity and stability of vegetation, soils, and wildlife decline dramatically. Once the replacement is complete, it is difficult to restore the original species. In some instances, the replacement is so widespread there are not enough resources available to achieve restoration. The loss is permanent.

Invasive non-native species are a central management concern for all wild land managers because they “threaten biodiversity and other ecological functions and values” (Warner et al. 2003). This statement represents a consensus by the scientists and land managers concerned with natural ecosystems (e.g., Mau-Crimmins et al. 2005). Native vegetation is more diverse, resilient, and persistent than invasive plant vegetation; it provides food and cover for wildlife, absorbs precipitation, increases water storage, protects soil, reduces flooding and sedimentation, and helps maintain air and water quality. According to the Sonoran Institute: “Invasive species are the second most significant threat to biological diversity after direct habitat loss”.

Full post with references:

White-footed Mice Prefer Native Plants

White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) prefer native fruits over invasive honeysuckle fruits

White-footed Mouse

Continue reading

Roads and Transmission Corridors Aid Plant Invasions

By Garry Rogers

Roads and Transmission Corridors

Any type of construction destroys vegetation and disturbs the surrounding area.  Roads and transmission corridors do even more.

New Pipeline in Central Arizona.  Native chaparral removed, heavily grazed, constant traffic.

New Pipeline in Central Arizona. Native chaparral removed, heavily grazed, constant traffic.

Throughout human history roads and trails have been the principal routes for long-distance weed dispersal (Cousens and Mortimer 1995).  During the past century, power lines and pipelines have spread across the land.  Their construction removes vascular plants (Vasek et al. 1975a, 1975b), BSCs (Belnap 2001), and AMFs, and prepares the soil for colonizing weeds.  New lines often do not follow existing roads and corridors.  Instead, they take direct routes that allow weeds to disperse to areas they would not reach using their own dispersal mechanisms (e.g., Tyser and Worley 1992, Wein et al. 1992, Zink et al. 1995).

Weeds spread with surprising speed along roads and transmission corridors (Macfarlane 1997, Trombulak and Frissell 2000, Pauchard and Alaback 2004, Brisson et al. 2009, Mortensen et al. 2009).  The primary dispersal vectors are wind, inspection vehicles, livestock grazing, and recreation vehicles.  Continue reading

Outdoor Recreation Aids Invasive Plants

By Garry Rogers

Outdoor Recreation Aids Plant Invasions

Tracks on the Agua Fria River BanksOutdoor recreation does far more than simply transport invasive plants.  It disturbs soils and vegetation and takes the lives of animals.  Leopold commented on the most violent type of recreation:

“The disquieting thing is the trophy hunter who never grows up. … To enjoy he must invade, possess, appropriate.  Hence the wilderness that he cannot personally see has no value to him.  Hence the universal assumption that an unused hinterland is rendering no service to society” (Leopold 1949:  176). Continue reading

Disturbance and Invasive Plants

By Garry Rogers

Disturbance and Invasive Plants:  Introduction

Wild Horses and Weeds

Wild Horses on a Former Great Basin Shrubland Destroyed by Livestock Grazing, Invasive Plants, and Fire.

In the invasive plant literature, disturbance refers to an event that removes plants and alters the soil surface.  “Disturbance is believed to be the major factor favoring plant introductions” (Radosevich et al. 2007:  58).  Without disturbance, invasive plants would find no openings to become established and begin to spread and replace native species.

It is important to understand the nature and origin of disturbance that leads to plant invasions, because, as with global warming, it is often profitable to deny human responsibility for invasions so that a disturbance activity can continue. Continue reading