Monarchs: Eucalyptus globulus introductions versus preserving natural communities

Patrick Foley patfoley at
Sat Jan 26 13:07:41 EST 2002

Paul and all,

Why not plant Blue Gum Eucalyptus and save money on natural habitat preservation?
Isn't our failure to do this more evidence that the government, the
environmentalists, the UN and the Bambificators are coming to take our guns away?

On this list I frequently read that the problem for butterflies is not collectors,
but habitat destruction. Is it so terrible to spend a small fraction of our public
money and charitable contributions to preserve habitat that is likely to help
Monarchs and many other species?

Planting large numbers of Blue Gum Eucalyptus on what might be oak woodland, or
some other natural California community in order to help one Australian species
invade shows the kind of singleminded, unecological, nonevolutionary thinking we
enjoy so much on this list. Australian Eucalyptus communities and California
communities differ in flower phenology and pollinators, the nature and edibility
of the fruits, the allelopathic effects on soil organisms and the particular
pattern of fire susceptibility (Yes Eucalyptus burns quite cheerfully). And much
else. So why not screw with California in order to avoid preserving land that is
worth preserving anyway? Sometimes I suspect Paul Cherubini is winning an irony
contest that most of us didn't know we were in.

Patrick Foley
patfoley at


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