Invasives: Climate and seedlings of invasives.

Discussion in 'Plants: Conservation' started by saltcedar, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    So naturally I was curious when told that PNW Summers are
    nearly rainless and have vanishingly low humidity, while Texas is of course rainy and humid.
    Seems too pat with regard to my experience in gardening and while not scientific these links
    illustrate that seedlings of invasives experience actual weather not averages.
    Since weather in August is the most stressful (from my experience) I chose that month from
    Weather Underground (2010) for both cities both in USDA zone 8.

    Austin,TX.
    http://www.wunderground.com/weather...STI47&day=3&year=2010&month=8&graphspan=month

    Edmond, WA.
    http://www.wunderground.com/weather...C4429&day=3&year=2010&month=8&graphspan=month

    Note the humidities for both locations, I was surprised how close
    they were. The distribution of rain also surprised me, not only the
    amount by how it was distributed. Evenly spaced rainfall is most
    helpful to any plant trying to get established in a new area.
    What little rain we got in Texas was all evaporated within a day
    at the temperatures recorded in 2010. It would seem other factors
    besides rainfall, humidity play a part in plant establishment in these two
    climates.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    What really matters is whether the introduced species are already adapted to climates similar to those they meet in their new area, or not. Species from southern China like e.g. Melia azaderach come from roughly the same climate as Austin gets so are invasive there, but won't grow in the PNW, whereas conversely, many European species get much the same climate as the PNW so are invasive there, but not in Texas.

    I'd guess there are very few species which are invasive in both areas.
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Okey dokey. enough talking. I just did a rough check against a list of invasives from Texas. While many of them are totally unfamiliar to me & I ignored some grasses & sedges (I plead ignorance). The following, surprisingly, are problem plants in both British Columbia & Texas

    Vinca major Periwinkle
    V. minor

    Stellaria media Common Chickweed

    Panicum repens Couch Grass

    Hederas helix English Ivy

    Convolvulus arvense Field bindweed

    Tamarix sp

    Garlic mustard Alliara petiolata

    Heracleum mantegazzanium Giant Hogweed

    Oxeye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare

    Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus

    Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria

    Cotton Thistle Onopordum acanthium

    Errors & Ommisions Excepted - this is a rough guide not a masters thesis!

    That's WAY more that I would have thought. some of these things must be tough & adaptable.

    ...so now you can carry one your erudite discussion with some FACTS (or a reasonable facsimile therof) :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  4. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Being as large as Texas is I'm sure those plants are troublesome somewhere but none of them are common in my area though some are cultivated.
    Odd that list leaves out all the Ligustrums, Phyllostachys aurea, Arundo donax and Nandina domestica (local pests).
    I've never even seen Giant Hogweed, Lythrum salicaria or Alliara petiolata!
    Those last three I believe all require more moisture than my area provides.
     
  5. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    saltcedar & skunk cabage
    If your interested - for a pretty complete list of what the State of Washington considers a Noxious weed see if you can get a copy of this little
    (5 1/2" by 3 1/2") publication. Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. Pub.820-264W (N/6/09)
    1111 Washington Street (P. O. Box 42560)
    Olympia, WA 98504
    360-725-5764
    Or send me a pvt note w/ your address and I'll send you a free copy.

    Michael - many of our invasives come from you neck of the woods. Would you like a copy? ;)))) barb
     
  6. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Barbara, thanks for the offer. Here in BC I tend to work with the lists from IPCBC (Invasive plant council of BC) or GVIPC (Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant council).

    Yes Michael F, those darn Brit gardeners brought in a lot of ornamental species to the Pacific North West! I expect they were funded & encouraged by our local lumber barons, mining magnates, railroad bosses & homesick spouses, who wanted everything that the nobility in the UK had. The Dutch did their bit too, I suspect. Many of the "japonicaceous" things, I think came to us via Britain as well, as did the Himalayan Blackberry.

    ...so there!
     
  7. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    OK Saltcedar, your turn - "Being as large as Texas..." Er,hum! Texas is a mere 2/3 (approx) the size of BC...so there!

    " Odd that list leaves out all the Ligustrums, Phyllostachys aurea, Arundo donax and Nandina domestica (local pests)."
    My list is a "cross-over" list whose contituent species are listed as Invasive alien species in Texas & BC both. "the Ligustrums..etc" that you mention are not nuisance species in BC. When I look at the lists for BC which is a very big place, there are many species with which I am not familiar. Many of these are exclusive to the Interior of the province & the rangelands. Some of the rangeland species, I am sure would be present in Texas as well.
     
  8. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  9. anza

    anza Active Member 10 Years

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    UMass Amherst Ecologists Call for Screening Imported Plants to Prevent a New Wave of Invasive Species

    I thought this would be appropriate here as it deals with climate change and a new threat of imported species from Asia, Middle-East and Africa which would better tolerate warmer climates and drought conditions.

    Ecologists Call for Screening Imported Plants to Prevent a New Wave of Invasive Species

     
  10. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Might be worth considering that climate change will render many 'native' plant assemblies untenable in their present range anyway. After all, today's 'native' was yesterday's invader. Perhaps 'new' species represent the best hope for the emergence of plant communities better suited to chamgimg local conditions...the natural history of any given location reveals numerous, radically different 'native ecosystems' depending on the climate of the era. Perhaps these efforts actually undermine the age old, dynamic processes of adaptation and change of which humanity is merely an agent.
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A planet populated by rats, roaches, gulls and ivy is not an even trade for the previous level of diversity, that would still be present if not for human overpopulation.
     
  12. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Not sure how you arrive at such a simple and cynical outcome, unless one disregards the evidence of the past few million years of change, epochs of radically different and diverse assemblies, and the elementary facts of succession. Doesn't engage the main points, at any rate.

    Cultivation of diverse species increases biodiversity: it's among our finer contributions, and you don't give yourself and your works enougn credit in this regard.

    Human population is projected to decline in the next century. On a global scale, Overpopulation is yesterday's issue. This was acknowledged as early as 2001.
     
  13. anza

    anza Active Member 10 Years

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    No kidding. LOL

    Around the globe there are clearly spefici species of animals, birds, fish plants etc that benefit off the irresponsible custodialship of human error. I've seen changes throughout my life time and more recently over here in Sweden. There is a strong decline in the historical animals of many ecosystems globally and an increase in pest types like rats, roaches, ants, invaisive plants, numerous bird scavenger species, all of which benefit from human filth for which they overpopulate.

    Here in the area of Sweden where I live there are huge populations of Magpies - Jackdaws(a sort of gray and black raven) - Pigeons - Sparrows , etc, etc. If you take a walk in most any of the woods here, you will find very few wild birds milling around doing what they do. The birds listed above are almost never found there and at best are always on the outskirts of a forest near human dwellings.

    Where I come from in San Diego, animals such as Rats/Mice/Pocket Gophers, Skunks, Possoms, Coyotes, Bobcats, etc have over populated and made a nusiance of themselves. Important wild species such as California Gnatcatchers - Least Bell's vireo - Western Meadowlarks (these are all species in which people in Southern California who hate environmentalists poke fun at and actually celebrate their demise, because their own selfish ignorance) are all but disappeared in many areas and these species do a tremendous service in keeping the Mosquito populations in balance.

    In Sweden, you'll find no such mosquito eating birds in their forests and you pay for it if you try and walk in the woods or try and collect any berries in late summer. Not that the birds would eliminate the problem, but it would be greatly lessened by their presence.

    All those California birds I listed were in great abundance when I grew up as a kid. As a side note, here are the sounds of a couple of them. The California Gnatcatcher actually sounds identical to a tiny kitten mewing for it's mother. As a kid exploring in the bush, I was always trying to find out just where those wild kittens were hiding. Below is a video of it's habitat in coastal scrub and chaparral communities. In the video you'll side it hoping in and around California Buckwheat (eriogonum_fasciculatum) and it's favourite and most important shrub, Artemisia californica (California Sagebrush). Artemisia is not really a true Sage like Salvia, but it has a pungent aroma like true sage. You can have a habiat with abundant low growing California buckwheat and other common coatal shrubs, but without Artemisia forget it. They favour nesting in it and no doubt feed on things in and around it.

    California Gnatcatcher's habitat

    Here is the sound it makes. You'll here some wind and traffic noise in background, but some of it's tiny kitten vocalization can be heard.

    Coastal California Gnatcatcher with calls, 10-28-10 (Video)
     
  14. anza

    anza Active Member 10 Years

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    I don't think he was necessarily being cynical as he was being concerned. Yes biodiversity is a wonderful thing, but clearly just introducing foreign organisms into just any environment has dire consequences. Just look at all the troubles created by already existing Invaisive species when placed in an environment lacking it's native home range checks and balances. In the regions of the southwest, the Tamarisk/SaltCedar comes to mind. It was brought over diliberately to create windbreak barriers for agricultural lands in the deserts of the southwest. It has destroyed almost all Native Riparian Habitats and everything that depends on them. Most of these consequences are the result of human error, ignorance and in many cases outright stupidity.
     
  15. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Here are some easier to understand and measure effects of overpopulation:

    "eight million hectares of forest are lost each year . . .
    Irreversible loss of arable land and increases in desertification . . .
    Mass species extinctions from reduced habitat in tropical forests . . . present extinction rates may be as high as 140,000 species lost per year. . . . "

    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation

    Even in this (very limited) light Ron's picture of "A planet populated by rats, roaches, gulls and ivy" looks quite optimistic.
     
  16. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Nobody is answering the big question: how did the plants you call 'native' get here, how did they establish (many of them were assuredly 'invasive'), and at what point did they become 'native'? How far can a plant migrate before it is 'exotic'? It's an entirely subjective term with no real established parameters; not exactly the sort of operational definition on which good science is based. How can you know that todays 'invader' is not tomorrow's 'native', in the face of a radically changing climate? Many present 'native' assemblies will not be tenable in an altered climate; They are often ephemeral, in terms of climate. After all, Vancouver Island was once open savannah: douglas fir was the invader. Now it's the stuff of old growth preservationist dreams. Yet an examination of the literature on Garry Oak meadows (themselves anthropogenic), the number one threat, on par with development, is the 'invasion by Douglas Fir seedlings'. Invader or native? Both, depending on how you're looking at it. And that's the point.

    Tamarisk is an interesting case in point: from Theodoropolous (citing others...don't attack the source, rather check and address the cited references):

    "Saltcedar [Tamarix spp.] is said to be a disastrous ecological menace, one of the nation's worst weeds, changing river hydrology, increasing flooding, sedimentation, and salinization, crowding out cottonwood [Populus deltoides] and willow [Salix spp.], and driving native species "to the edge" (Malakoff 1999; U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment 1993). Yet, studies have demonstrated that native seedlings are competitively superior to saltcedar (Sher et al. 2000), and that it establishes in soils too saline for natives to germinate (Anderson 1996). Stromberg (1998) found that saltcedar actually enhances floristic diversity - herbaceous species richness and cover is significantly greater in saltcedar than cottonwood, and stem densities of native woody successional species are equivalent. Anderson (1998) has found that avian species richness and density in saltcedar is equivalent to native vegetation, and "biomass and diversity of insects in saltcedar stands is comparable to those in cottonwood and willow." In fact, 90% of the endangered willow flycatcher [Empidonax traillii extimus] nest in saltcedar (Malakoff 1999). Over 20 years ago Everitt (1980) pointed out that saltcedar is only a symptom of abuse of riparian areas, and he has recently stated that quote "There is no evidence that it actively displaced native species nor that it played an active role in changing the hydraulic or morphological properties of the river" (Everitt 1998). These are not biased people - all have killed saltcedar during riparian restorations."


    Overpopulation? More likely unequal resource distribution. The consequences you illustrate are primarily driven by poverty. It's not numbers per se, and as I said, regional issues do not necessarily mean a global issue. Inequitable distribution, political issues and consequent underdevelopment create and perpetuate these problems, not sheer numbers. There was an interesting study that found when personal income rose above 5000k annually, people started expressing greater concern for the the health of their environments. None of this is simple to understand; putting it in bold letters doesn't change this fact. It certainly requires far more research than wikipedia can provide, but it is absolutely the case. It is complex; it requires study.

    I say again, in conclusion: invasions are often simply stage in the processes by which every floral and faunal assembly we presently reify came into being. Interrupting this process in the name of half or misunderstood conception of these processes might well be more disastrous then the perceivedly negative effects they seek to mitigate. This is the point that ought to be addressed: curiously, it is also the one that never is by those who most vigorously respond. Why is that?

    Following glaciation, we should have seen nothing but rats, roaches and gulls on the tabula rasa of land scraped bare. Instead, we get the biodiversity we value today. How come? Why didn't the most aggressive species come to dominate? Because it's not that simple. I'm sure that there are many cases where concern is warranted: but there are a great many where concern is misplaced. Certainly, the claim that it all results in two or three species (all of whom, I might add, depend on entire assemblies to survive) is a form of auto reductio ad absurdum to which defies rational response.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  17. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Neoendemics are true natives... native to the ecosystem within which they evolved, anyway. And I suppose everything was a neoendemic at one time.

    A recent, lengthy discussion on the subject of controversy for further reading: So, Non-Native Plants Are Good Now?.

    For some background reading (written by my uncle): The Roles of Biodiversity in Creating and Maintaining the Ecosphere

    Where or when a human-induced non-native (an organism established in area due to some human activity) reduces ecosystem functions, a moral response is to accept responsibility for whatever human ignorance helped establish the problematic non-native and work to mitigate further degradation of the system. Where or when a human-induced non-native has no effect on or improves ecosystem functions, no moral response is necessary. Where or when a non-human-induced non-native affects or doesn't affect ecosystem functions, no moral response is necessary.
     
  18. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Look at it this way woodschmoe: the Islands of Hawaii were receiving about one new species of plant or animal every several thousand years prior to human colonization (from memory - bite me if I'm wrong on the number). A few hundred years ago, the first people arrived bringing 20 or 30 food plant species, then Europeans arrived & the floodgates opened. The native flora & fauna has been displaced in large measure by the new arrivals, with many exctinctions & "epidemics" of invasive newcomers.

    If you multiply this effect globally, it represents a mixing & homogenization of the world's gene pool unprecedented in the history of the planet. What will be the long term consequences? I don't know. In the short run, there is a decrease in biodiversity & an enormous number of localized extinctions of species adapted to particular niches. This happens wherever modern humans "develop & improve" things as we do. The "generalist" organisms that Ron B mentions thrive.

    Thanks for the moral questions Daniel.
     
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    When a plant colonises a new area by its own unaided dispersal, it carries all its associated fauna with it, which keeps it in balance with the surrounding environment. When humans transport plants long distances, the associated fauna doesn't come with it.

    As to "at what point did they become 'native'?" — right from the start, if they arrived by their own natural dispersal; but never, if they arrived with human assistance.
     
  20. anza

    anza Active Member 10 Years

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    It has been address not only by Michael F here:
    But it has also been addressed here on the UBC resources website here and I happen to agree with their definitions, not only because it makes logical sense, but also because of personal experience and observation over many years. Take a look:

    ****** INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES ******

    GENERAL DEFINITIONS: ALIEN VERSUS INVASIVE

    AND
    There is also an interesting animation map for your Canadian British Columbia historically charting alien and invaisive species movement over time. Simply scroll to the bottom, choose the plant name and click on the icons.

    Watch how alien and invasive species spread in the province. Visit our animated maps.

    Enjoy!


    -----
     
  21. anza

    anza Active Member 10 Years

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    It's really hard to explain and give a real feel for the devestating effects of a plant on a speicific environment to someone else who is geographically disconected from the area in question. With Tamarix in the southwest, it's something you have to taste fell and experience for yourself. Especially beneficial is when you remember the history of an area which is entirely different now from it's former glory. I believe I have participated in a discussion here where some thought Tamarix beautiful when in flower and producing honey. True, one Tamarix variety can be just that in a moonscape environment where nothing else will grow.

    Perhaps I can explain it this way. I love the deserts southwest. I love plants from the pea family [Mesquite(Prosopis) ETC). I love restoring desert ecosystems for which these species of plants survive and benefit other lifeforms around them IN THE CORRECT ENVIRONMENT. Let's face it. I grew up around them and they are a part of what I hold dear. However, not everyone around the globe feels this way about Mesquite, especially Prosopis juliflora . In places like India it has devastated massive areas of their backcountry and taken over the environment.

    Uprooting of Prosopis initiated as part of Habitat Management Plan

    Australia is yet another region of Outback where Mesquite has taken over areas where the native Acaicia and Wattle once ruled. Hawaii, Carribean, and even farmers and some communities in Kenya are suing their government and the United Nations for bringing in Mesquite which is taking over their pasture lands. So I can understand and relate to someone from another country who is concerned over a foreign species ruining their native environment. Take note of this report:

    Invasive plant species and their disaster-effects in dry
    tropical forests and rangelands of Kenya and Tanzania



    ------------

    Actually woodschmoe, we're not really talking about historical natural change over time with regard environmental flora and fauna as a result of gradual climate change or other non-human factors where checks and balances happen in time. We're mainly focused here on Human stupidity and ignorance and in many cases the actions motivated by selfishness and greed. Addressing those issues requires as equally radical solutions being developed quickly to avoid total disaster. In some areas it's probably to late and IF there are solutions, how do you actually motivate the average person to even care about doing something about it ? I'm not talking people here in this forum or other garden/landscape web discussion sites. It's clear most of these get it. But they are vastly outnumbered.

    There seems to be no end these days of excuse making for the flaws, errors and imperfections of humankind misuses and abuses of their intelligence. You find apologetics for almost any area of life now days. Religion, business, political, various sciences and the list now is endless. Example: extreme rightwing Fundie Climate Change skeptics who say change is natural and has been for centuries and there is no proof of Anthropological disruptions anywhere. Is that really true ? Should we just sit back and celebrate as wonderful change in climates and ignore any human responsibility and chalk it up to it's normal and natural ? Is it true that climate scientists, biologists etc are nothing more than leftwing nut alarmists that want to turn the world into a one world Socialist Government ? Some of the silly reasonings are endlless.
     
  22. anza

    anza Active Member 10 Years

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    Thanks for this link. I have bookmarked it.

    I found another interesting link along the same discussion lines of both pros and cons. This continues the subject of the Saltcedar. Clearly the tree is NOT at fault. It is the irresponsible actions of humans in river and other watershed mismanagement, etc.

    "The Thirsty Tree": 'Confronting Invasive Saltcedar in the American Southwest'

    Back in the early 1980s I had some alternate desert windbreak proposals to the failed Tamarix invention. At the 'Desert Water Agency' over in Palm Springs, CA, I offered creating dune structures replicating already existing Mesquite mounds with Dune Mesquite. There is an area of northwestern Palm Springs called Windy Point. The Interstate 10 and Santa Fe Railroad ran through here and have a desparate need of windbreaks for safty reasons. The area has huge areas of sand dunes with extremely sharp edged sand particles which chew into plant tissues, even tough bark. Salt cedar is/was at the time the only plant that would recover fast if given enough constant water supply and it needs generous amounts and that was the main problem. Yet Dune Mesquite has survived for thousands of years in just such an environment. Needless to say they never even attempted to try experimenting with this idea. Yet UCSD has done so down in the Ocotillo Wells area of Imperial County. I just visited the site this past July on Hwy 78.

    On another note. The agreesive water usage has destroyed above ground water habitats. Here's a success story of the removal of ALL Tamarix in the 1000 Palms Oasis area from the website Invasives.org.

    A Success Story
    Tamarisk Control at Coachella Valley Preserve, Southern California
    Tunyalee Martin
    The Nature Conservancy
    Wildland Invasive Species Program
    January 2001

    There is also another important note on the technics used in restoration of hand removal as opposed to bulldozer. I'll address this another time as I have personal experience with both in many other environments.

    Cheers
     
  23. bling

    bling Member

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    i bookmarked it. thanks for sharing it here
     

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