Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What is it about the phrase "invasive species" these people don't understand?

Margaret Wille casts her lot with " medical anthropologist"(med school dropout)/coqui frog defender/ antibra crusader/crank Syd Singer and his lawsuit against various entities to halt the poisoning of mangroves anywhere on the island.

No doubt relying on extensive training in environmental engineering, Margaret notes that mangrove removal was a negative factor when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Mangroves play an important part in anchoring the silt from the Mississippi River in the Louisiana delta, where they are native. She doesn't consider that such anchoring might be necessary for an area comprised of silt and mud, but useless or worse in Puna's recent lava land (which is, I have noted, fairly solid), or why a thicket of mangroves preventing access to the shoreline is desirable.

Huge areas of this island are overgrown with one or another invasive plants. Some people like the invasive plants. Most newcomers, though, understand the need to protect, to the extent possible, Hawaii's native environment. They understand that if they want to live around mangroves, there are planes to Louisiana and Florida every day. They understand that when they champion the destruction of Hawaii's native environments, they join an only too-familiar tradition. Busybodies and Cranks, on the other hand, don't care, and are themselves a kind of invasive species.


Andrew Cooper said...

Coqui? Strawberry Guava? Mangroves? I wonder if Mr. Singer has ever met an invasive species he doesn't like? What will he say when the Brown Tree Snake arrives?

margaret said...

Hi Aaron:

Clearly this is not a black and white issue... I am not a pro-invasive species or anti-invasive species fan per se. But I do not like how this "label" is used willy-nilly, often without logic.... such as to remove banyans from banyan drive, or rows of eucalyptus along Mamalahoa in Waimea.

In particular I am concerned about the poisoning in wetlands... and there are plenty of places where the mangroves are part of a wetland here in Hawaii and not just stuck on lava rock (firm areas).

There appears not to have been any environmental assessment that would allow for this type of exchange that you are promoting-- so I appreciate your input.

This will be an interesting case.

Again thanks for forwarding the discussion... M. Wille

Anonymous said...

Since Hawaii is a chain of volcanic islands, it has NO native species, other than various forms of lava. Where was the time line drawn, after which all species that came later are considered 'invasive'?
History tells us that the first plants came from seeds carried by birds and ocean currents, followed by 'canoe plants' brought by the first settlers. Do we really want to consider everything later than this to be non native, and strip the islands back to bare rock dotted with palm and breadfruit trees? Or should a more intelligent appraisal of the value and use of each species of plants and animals be made instead of arbitrarily condemning them based on a time line. (By the same token, there are no native hawaiians, but that's a can of worms for another forum)

John Powell said...

Clearly there's no way we could eradicate all post-1790 plants even if we wanted to. Haole Koa, Fountain Grass, and Mango Trees, for example, are here to stay. But that doesn't mean that areas of the unique pre-1790 enviropnment can't or shouldn't be preserved. Obviously, decisions have to be made case-by-case. I don't know the area of Puna where the eradication is being done, but it appears that a number of agencies and organizations, some of whom, presumably, know the area, have concluded eradication is appropriate.
Some people like the mangroves. I personally don't. To me, they're just thickets that prevent access to the shoreline. But that's all a matter of taste, even if you dress your argument up in environmental or moral camouflage. And there's such an easy way to live among the mangroves, if that is your wish - go to Florida.

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