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Urban Natives

Richard Winder rwinder at PFC.Forestry.CA
Fri Jan 13 13:14:23 EST 1995


In article <Joshua_Berman-1101952347240001 at cis-ts3-slip1.cis.brown.edu>, Joshua_Berman at brown.edu (Josh Berman) writes:
>A head Landscape Architect at the Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation
>told me this morning that the whole hoopla over indigenous species is only
>a "fad" that is primarily resulting from the Wetland act amendments three
>years ago. He acknowledges the importance of not planting agressive
>non-natives, but does not seem to think that an area's natives should be
>exclusively planted in DOT's projects.  Does anyone out there agree, or
>strongly disagree?
>
>I'm specifically interested in the issue as it relates to urban forestry
>along a  post-industrial river that is now being integrated back into the
>community.

It depends- how agressive is agressive?  Does it mean invasive?  Is it a new
introduction, or is it already introduced and widespread?  If you read
the original USDA report on kudzu, it was touted as a good plant for
stabilizing banks, road cuts, etc., and it was said the the plant was
relatively non-invasive.  I think we all know how that one turned out.

The veracity of government reports notwithstanding, some food for thought is 
contained in the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment report 
OTA-F-565, "Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in the United States", where 
potential losses due to Melaleuca, purple loosestrife, and wichweed alone are 
tallied at 4.5 billion $US.  In this report, it is estimated that 15% of non-
indigenous species (all types) cause severe economic and/or environmental harm.
Currently, biological control programs are the only thing saving our skins for
a number of introduced weeds around the world (a point now recognized by APHIS
and embodied as official policy for member countries of the North American 
Plant Protection Organization)- is your landscaping friend going to be 
willing to shell out the big $ necessary to provide the biocontrol agents to 
keep his non-indigenous weeds in check?		-RSW

  RICHARD WINDER                    Title: Research Scientist
  Canadian Forest Service           Phone: (604) 363-0773
  Victoria, B.C.                    Internet: RWINDER at A1.PFC.Forestry.CA



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