Traffic in plants and plant seeds
fnkwp at aurora.alaska.edu
Sat Sep 19 06:56:43 EDT 1998
I would recommend to anyone interested in the effects of intro-
duced organisms on biodiversity the following book: 'The Song of the
Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction', by David Quammen.
Despite the cases where introduced organisms have been useful, the
overall picture is pretty dismal. For one example: the biodiversity of
the lowland areas in the Hawaian Islands has been severely reduced by
introduced species (in particular, the mosquito _Culex pipiens fatigans_
and the avian malaria it carries). It's true that there are now more
species of butterflies on these islands than there were--but I doubt
that compensates for the loss of birds. Hawaii is "the world's foremost
site of bird extinctions since the age of European conquest began."
Paul Cherubini refers to 'plant bigotry' when people object to
introduced plants. He might be amused, then, at a triumph over 'animal
bigotry' in Australia a few years ago. A fenced-off reserve had been set
aside where rabbits and foxes (introduced) had been exterminated, and
within that reserve the native fauna was recovering very nicely indeed.
Then a group of animal-rights protestors turned up, and threw live rabbits
and foxes over the fence...
fnkwp at uaf.edu
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