Traffic in plants and plant seeds

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Sat Sep 19 17:26:54 EDT 1998

	Semjase commented, with regard to people who are uneasy about the
effects of introduced exotic species:

> It seems you guys would opt for a status quo situation and it would not
> surprise me if someone would try to stop evolution itself.

	It is my understanding that one of the major causes of biodiversity
is adaptive radiation, which has resulted in the veritable explosion of
fruit fly diversity in Hawaii, as well as Darwin's finches on the Galapagos
Islands, and numerous other cases worldwide. The introduction of 'weedy'
exotic species takes a tremendous toll on such organisms--resulting in a
marked decrease of overall world biodiversity. If one regards evolution as
producing biodiversity, then it's the introduction of exotic species that
is 'stopping evolution itself'. Obviously the introduced species will them-
selves evolve, but the result of giving every species in the world the
chance of moving into every continent and little island in the world will
be a homogenized and, as far as biodiversity goes, impoverished flora and

	It might be worth noting that, worldwide, exotic species have caused
more extinctions than all the habitat destruction that lepidopterists love
to (with good reason!) complain about. There appears to be no way to stop
such introductions, most of which occur as 'collateral damage' of commerce,
but I see litle need to _encourage_ them!

	Some animal-rights people refer to attempts to stop or reverse
exotic-species introductions as 'fascist' or 'Nazi'--in part because the
Nazis did encourage a 'back-to-nature' attitude with regard to Germany's
indigenous organisms. (Nazis as early environmentalists--an odd byway of

	When a love for the diversity of life on earth, and the attempt
to preserve it against one of its major threats, is labeled as bigoted,
or fascist, I'm inclined to think that something has gone wrong somewhere...

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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