Invasion of the Invasive Species!

Local biodiversity is increasing.

Here’s a fact that I suspect most people don’t know: Wherever we humans have gone in the past two centuries, we have increased local and regional biodiversity. Biodiversity, in this case, is defined as increasing species richness. Yet, “the popular view [is] that diversity is decreasing at local scales,” Brown University biologist Dov Sax and University of California, Santa Barbara biologist Steven Gaines report [PDF].

Ample scientific evidence shows that this popular view is wrong, however. For example, more than 4,000 plant species introduced into North America during the past 400 years grow naturally here and now constitute nearly 20 percent of the continent’s vascular plant biodiversity.

The fear among opponents of "invasive species" is the aggressive outsiders will cause a holocaust among the native plants. That might initially seem reasonable because there are a few species, like kudzu, purple loosestrife, and water hyacinth, that grow with alarming speed wherever they show up. But that doesn't mean other species are in danger. “There is no evidence that even a single long term resident species has been driven to extinction, or even extirpated within a single U.S. state, because of competition from an introduced plant species,” Macalester College biologist Mark Davis notes [PDF]. Yet this spurious threat of extinction persists as one of the chief reasons given for trying to prevent the introduction of exotic species.

Meanwhile, there are plenty more examples in which local and regional species richness has been increasing. Introduced vascular plants have doubled the species richness of the plant life on most Pacific Islands. In fact, the species richness of some islands has increased so much that they now approach the richness of continental areas. In New Zealand 2,000 introduced plant species have taken up residence with the islands’ 2,000 native species and only three native plant species have gone extinct. The opening of the Suez Canal introduced 250 new fish species into the Mediterranean Sea from the Red Sea which resulted in only a single extinction.

Researchers find increases in species richness on the local level as well. Sax and Gaines cite studies [PDF] which find that a corner of West Lancester in Britain has seen a dramatic rise in plant species diversity over the past two centuries, gaining 700 exotics while losing 40 natives. They note that reptile and amphibian diversity has increased slightly in California. Mammal diversity has increased on many oceanic islands, and in Australia and North America. Freshwater fish diversity has increased significantly in many drainages throughout the U.S. 

Birds are different. Many species, especially those endemic to isolated islands, have gone extinct, largely due to habitat loss and predation from humans or introduced predators such as rats. Nevertheless, Sax and Gaines note that “net bird diversity (in spite of large changes in species composition) has remained largely unchanged on oceanic islands.” In other words, despite extinctions of endemic species, the number of avian species on any given island remains about steady because new species are introduced to them.

So why then are so many ecologists and environmentalists on a jihad against introduced species? Of course, some introduced species do cause harm to the environment. They become pests (which means they set up shop where we don’t want them to) or cause disease in people or creatures we care about. But the vast majority of introduced species blend in more or less unobtrusively with the natives. The main objection to spreading non-native species seems to be aesthetic.

For example, Birmingham University biologist Phillip Cassey and colleagues respond to the evidence of rising local and regional biodiversity by complaining that many of the birds that a visitor from the U.K. would encounter in New Zealand are the same species found back home. “The same is true for floras and faunas around the world,” lament [PDF] Cassey and colleagues. “It is the biological equivalent of flying from Seattle to Paris and going to Starbucks for your coffee.”

Fair enough. But this is not a scientific argument. Sax and New Mexico University biologist James Brown correctly observe that whether the impacts of introduced species “are considered to be positive or negative, good or bad is a subjective value judgment rather than an objective scientific finding. Scientists are no more uniquely qualified to make such ethical decisions than lay people.” Cassey may wish to quaff his café au lait at Les Deux Magots while others enjoy their Venti Café Misto in the familiar purlieus of a Parisian Starbucks.

Nevertheless, aesthetic reasons are still reasons and science can be validly deployed in their service. Some people may prefer landscapes restored to a condition prior to the introduction of outside species. As Davis and his colleague Stony Brook University biologist Lawrence Slobodkin point out [PDF], architecture uses mathematics, physics, and engineering to achieve aesthetic and social goals. “Perhaps ‘ecological architecture’ might be a more apt characterization of the work of ecological restoration,” they suggest. “Because the term acknowledges the central role played by both values and science.”

Ultimately, Davis argues that the good news from biology is that the “globalization of the Earth’s biota will not lead to a world composed of zebra mussels, kudzu, and starlings.” Instead, while in the future different regions of the world will be more similar in their floras and faunas, Davis concludes, “At the same time, they will become more diverse, in some cases much more diverse.”

Ronald Bailey is Reason's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

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  • Government of Wolves||

    It's an interesting question, as a libertarian: what moral value should be attached to the survival of a unique species? And is it ever possible for that value, whether aggregate or unitary, to justify state action?

  • Richard Head||

    There are many uses for biological species (food, medicine, etc) so they obviously can be seen as a resource that is beneficial to mankind. We are fortunate to have such a biodiversity to mine for our uses, and future generations deserve that opportunity also. So to destroy species is a harm to future humans, and (IMO) should be strongly avoided.

  • Richard Head||

    Some extinctions can't be avoided, they do happen naturally, albeit at a much lower rate than now. Determining the value of a given species is difficult and contentious (what is the value of a given songbird sp.?), and its even harder to determine the value of a species to humans in the future. We haven't even named many species much less evaluated whether they have useful properties; all that DNA information for genetically-modified plants has to come from somewhere.

  • ||

    Your name simply can't be coincidence, well done!

  • ||

    People are part of nature. A human city is no more unnatural than a termite colony. So, if diversity is overall increasing because of humans, with some local extinctions, that is a natural process.

  • mike||

    Yes we are of nature. Some things of nature I can do without, like small pox and fleas. What else should be extinct? Don't say mosquitos, too many things eat them.

  • Remaining Sucker||

    Screw the mosquito. Let them eat cake.

  • Neu Mejican||

    So, if diversity is overall increasing because of humans, with some local extinctions, that is a natural process.

    You got that exactly backwards. Overall diversity is decreasing rapidly with some increases in local diversity.

  • Valkor||

    Decreasing rapidly? You mean those 137 unnamed, unidentified jungle species that perish daily? This study is talking about actual observed species, not subspecies of hypothetical ants.

  • Knoss||

    I agree few specise are lost but if they are lost due to invasive species it may well be that new species plays the same role in the ecosystem.

  • hmm||

    The main objection to spreading non-native species seems to be aesthetic.

    I think it's more complex than that. More than a few noxious weeds like kudzu and Asian carp can do massive amounts of damage by destroying other species to environments they are introduced to in which they have no natural limiting factors. The damage that can be caused by a few introduced species can be catastrophic, birds on Guam? I agree that the hyperbole about environments losing diversity is just that, hyperbole. But to discount the potential danger of introduced species to just aesthetics is wrong. If you alter environments you run the risk of doing so for the better or the worse.

    I'm not against the migration of species, but humans can accelerate migration of species and cause some serious issues.

  • Law Student||

    First of all, he pointed out that this statement "More than a few noxious weeds like kudzu and Asian carp can do massive amounts of damage by destroying other species" is wrong. You are using the same hyperbole that he refutes.

    Second of all, whose to say that the native species are somehow "better" than the foreign ones? If there is some monetary value then sure but otherwise its just aesthetics.

  • hmm||

    I was agree with him, however pointing out that it is largely aesthetic is wrong. It isn't a matter of better, especially since better is a fairly vague notion to begin with. It's a matter of actually reducing diversity which is what he is talking about. The species he listed, I listed, and you listed do just that. They are also excellent examples of the potential for damage on a large scale due to invasive noxious species. There is monetary value tied to the ones listed, there is almost always monetary value tied to noxious species. That's one way plants are deemed noxious and dangerous.

    Skr is right the odds are slim, but they aren't 0.

    I think saying the issue is solely aesthetic is disingenuous at best.

  • ||

    If Asian carp find their way into Lake Michigan, they will threaten a multi-million dollar commercial and sport fishing industry. That's not hyperbole, unfortunately - they've already become the dominant species in several sections of the Illinois River, which is connected to Lake Michigan via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Hence the deployment of electric gates and attempts to poison the carp.

  • ||

    Stephen: So I take it that the introduced salmon and troutdestroyed the Great Lakes fisheries? Oh, wait. They are a big part of the Great Lakes fishery.

    The big problem is that the Lakes are essentially an open access commons so decisions about how to manage them are necessarily political (and thus suboptimal). If the Lakes were owned, then the owner could decide what to do about excluding undesirable fish. Notionally, if the fisheries were owned by commercial fishers or sport fishing clubs, then they could negotiate a deal to close the canals or not.

  • tekel||

    Oh good idea. Maybe Canada will buy them from the US and then sell the water to Arizona and California.

    The flaw in your analogy to the introduced salmon is that people *want* to eat those fish. To most fish consumers in the US, carp are garbage.

  • Neu Mejican||

    They taste great. The are a staple in Asia.

  • ||

    The salmon and trout that were introduced have not crowded out the native fish species. Asian carp, on the other hand, will outcompete both the native and introduced species both by eating a tremendous amount and by rapidly breeding.

    If they were delicious, that would be one thing. But they suck.

    At any rate, the carp haven't made their way into Lake Michigan yet, so any claims of catastrophe are premature. I'm not sure they can make it past the barrier.

  • ||

    The Asian Carp are delicious. Their primary problem lies in the fact that their bone structure is more complex that we like to deal with.

  • MJ||

    I'm not sure what good the Lakes being owned would do. The carp are moving into the Great Lakes basin from the Mississippi river system in a way that requires no additional human help. The Lakes and their river systems cover a heavily populated area bigger than several states. I am not sure how a private organization would be able to police that area effectively.

    Fortunately, I am not sure how destructive the asian carp are going to be. They said the zebra mussel was going to doom the Lakes about a decade ago, for much the same reason, a voracious appetite and no natural predators. The biggest effect was that Lake Erie water was clear for a few years. It's now back to its normal green color.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Another unintended consequence of keynesian government spending. The Illinois River wouldn't have been connected so directly to Lake Michigan if it hadn't been for a few statist planners.

    (I would fully be in favor of private investors constructing such a canal with their own money though.)

  • skr||

    but the odds of releasing the next kudzu are very slim. Of the thousands of plant species introduced to CA only 40 are listed by Cal-IPC as causing severe harm. That's a small fraction of a percent.

  • kinnath||

    The emerald ash borer may well wipe out all ash trees in North America. Somewhat problematic.

  • hmm||

    Dutch elm has done a lot of damage to American Elms, Oak wilt is also advancing faster than many expected.

    Those issues are also largely accelerated by single species plantings.

  • Thomas||

    Oak wilt is caused by a native fungus.

    Try again.

  • hmm||

    I was using oak wilt more as an example of how single species plantings and a lack of forethought can prove troublesome. The beetles sap and Oak bark also native. I probably should have qualified that since the other two are not native.

    We can switch it to chestnut blight, but that really wasn't a good example of single planting issues and pathogens.

  • Knoss||

    Thats not an argument for restricting importation of exotic species but for allowign the use of modern insecticides and fungecides.

  • ||

    Kudzu is nuts and should now be the state plant of Georgia.

  • skr||

    This makes me laugh though because I was arguing with a native proponent just this past week. Good timing Ron.

  • ||

    You can't stop the spread of species. Trying to can have some effect, but costs a lot of money and effort. Ultimately, nature is going to have winners and losers, and while humans can effect that, that's all part of the process now.

  • hmm||

    Stopping the spread is wrong. Not facilitating the spread without some forethought, and even then it goes wrong sometimes, is stupid.

  • hmm||

    You also get issues like Dutch Elm and large single species environments that increase the advancement of diseases. Dutch elm, emerald bore, Oak wilt, to name a few have torn through single planting neighborhoods.

    While that's bad a lot of species seem to manage to survive or hang on even in high density single species areas. It just seems like a little human forethought, not based in aesthetics, can go a long way.

  • ||

    There's a lot of species invasions that no amount of forethought would have prevented, and plenty of ones where they were introduced specifically with forethought because people thought they would be beneficial. The moral of this story is that you're not going to do too much about it either way. That's nature, dude.

  • hmm||

    I agree, but why make a situation worse if you have a choice?

    Kudzu was brought as an ornamental, but later spread willy nily without thought as livestock feed. That is the kind of forethought I am talking about. I understand migration will occur, but there's no need to just throw your hands up and say fuckit when 10 minutes of thought like, "will the cows eat it fast enough to keep it in check?" can go a long way.

  • hmm||

    Lets not forget the marvelous idea of using Kudzu, because nothing can really eat it out of existence, and it grows like crazy, for erosion purposes. Something at least two states did. That was brilliant.

  • SIV||

    The federal government subsidized kudzu planting in the 1930s. Earlier introduction did not lead to any problems.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    That sounds like God's punishment for homeowners associations. Sucks to live in a bland ass "single planting" neighborhood, I guess.

    Also, I find kudzu to be a fucking awesome plant. There's a few single planting neighborhoods I'd like to introduce it to.

  • hmm||

    A lot of municipalities and large campuses for schools and corporations had the same problem.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    You don't say? Species specific tree diseases are the shit! Take that monotonous planning.

  • Aaron||

    I miss my American chestnut and elm trees... is that somehow unpatriotic? I suppose that makes me a bad libertarian. Oh well. Back to FPR with me.

  • skr||

    Currently, the closest you can get to a tree that looks like the American elm is Ulmus parvifolia "Allee". It has the same basic vase shape, the same leaf size and shape, and similar bark. It also gets about the same size though maybe a little smaller but it is resistant to Dutch Elm disease.

  • hmm||

    Siberian Elms look more like American Elms than Chinese Elms. Both in shape, size, growth rate, leaf, and structure. They are also more resistant to Dutch Elm, not immune, than American Elms. I believe Chinese Elms are almost immune to Dutch, or the most resistant.

  • ||

    That's because of the high lead content of Chinese Elms. Sorry, couldn't resist.

  • hmm||

    That was pretty funny. I love Chinese Elms. They are one of my favorite.

  • skr||

    Allee is a hybrid that was bred to be like the american elm. It's a nice plant.

  • James C Bennett||

    A certain percentage of biologists whines about "invasive species" for the same reason that a certain percentage of astronomers argues against human colonization of space--their obsession requires them to observe nature and they are much more emotionally invested in their obsession than they are in human beings, especially human beings in the abstract. To them, a person introducing change to the environment they study is like a person going in and pissing in a chemist's beaker, because obviously studying environment x is way more important than whatever stupid, pedestrian "agriculture," "commerce," or "recreation" introduced the species, so these people must be introducing invasive species for spite. In other words, the scientists that complain about this stuff are nerd assholes who should usually be ignored.

  • Mango Punch||

    Killer bees

  • roguepatriot||

    I'm surprised no one mentioned the European Honeybee, which put the "fruit" in out fruited plain.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "Purlieus". Are they antinomian? Ron, you sound very much like a man who's just gotten back from Les Deux Magots and wants everyone to know about it. Sacre bleu! What does that mean, anyway? If you know the answer, you probably had coeur de cheval for lunch.

  • Ecolibertarian||

    Species invasions almost by definition increase local biodiversity, measured simply as a count of the number of species residing there. But it also tends to reduce global biodiversity, measured in a more sophisticated fashion as the effective number of species, weighted by biomass or number of individuals. In the U.S. native songbird populations have declined dramatically over the past 60 years, due to habitat destruction (but development wouldn't amount to habitat destruction if developers used native species rather than alien turfgrasses and ornamentals) and cat predation (an invasive species). It's hard to fathom why this decline doesn't matter simply because those species still exist.

  • ||

    So tell us why it matters? Really, explain why exactly it matters if native songbird populations are down.

  • Mango Punch||

    Local songbirds are a shared resource. Those who deprive this resource from others should have to compensate them. This isn't happening - ergo it violates your principles?

  • Ray Pew||

    Local songbirds are a shared resource. Those who deprive this resource from others should have to compensate them. This isn't happening - ergo it violates your principles?

    Since no one has an ownership claim to them, no one can claim compensation for their demise.

  • ||

    What bullshit. Songbirds are now a "shared resource"? Are you playing Chad or something? You didn't use "externality".

    With your logic, anything anyone could ever do that might ever change the current makeup of species in nature as they stand (...uh...right now? 20 years ago? 100 years ago?) would be "depriving" someone potentially of a resource, and should have to compensate them.

    Are you really this stupid?

  • Mango Punch||

    Some people value song birds in their yard. Some people value being in environments that 'feel' like humans haven't had an impact. And people pay to have these experiences. Just because you don't see value in something doesn't mean that people don't value it, or that valuing it is irrational.

    For instance: I would pay to see a Haast Eagle.

    I never said that extinction is inherently bad. And although I think it's a rational stance, I never said extinction is worse when caused by humans rather than caused otherwise. My point was that broadly discounting loss of species as meaningless is absolutely idiotic.

  • Chad||

    It may be idiotic, but it is libertarianism in action.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No it isn't.

  • James C Bennett||

    It's not that the number of songbirds matters to the eco crowd. It's not that the number of songbirds is changing that matters to them, either--they wouldn't care if some "natural" change caused the songbird poulation to change. What irritates the eco crowd is that human beings--who have agency, unlike faceless "natural" changes--are taking actions that cause the songbird population to change. It's the Puritan Urge talking--there are people out there who are not basing their actions on my beliefs, and they must be stopped!

  • skr||

    I disagree with this theory. I am a landscape architect and I have to deal with clients plant preferances all the time. Many people have no problem planting native plants instead of exotics. However, they tend to select native plants like grasses that don't provide the necessary resources for many local species mainly because they don't like bugs. They also don't pick exotics that produce a lot of pollen or nectar because those would bring bugs into their yard. They want plants that are tidy and they want a bug free landscape. Everything else is secondary. They also don't want to have to deal with deadheading flowers or really any other maintanence. To this end they choose evergreen perrenials that are easy to maintain instead of the annual flowers that need copious amounts of maintanence because they die every year and make the landscape look messy and "weedy" I firmly believe that these considerations are for more contributary to habitat loss than whether the plants are native or exotic.

    As far as turf grass in considered, the fact that they are exotic isn't the problem. The real problem for wildlife is the horticultural practice of mowing the lawn regularly before the grass can go to seed and produce food for birds. The long grasses would also provide cover for wildlife. Unfortunately, people tend to not like the wildlife that would find a home in their overgrown lawn, mice and rats, so they keep the lawn mowed and tidy. Pile on fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and there really isn't any chance for wildlife. If you removed the horticultural practices from the equation even the exotic lawn would support much more biodiversity

  • Ice-Mongrel-American||

    "The real problem for wildlife is the horticultural practice of mowing the lawn regularly before the grass can go to seed and produce food for birds. The long grasses would also provide cover for wildlife."

    I let my back yard go to seed at least a couple of times a year. The last time I cut it, it was teaming with baby toads.

    I love wildlife in my yard and put out a variety of food* and water for birds and critters. My yard is a constant commotion of birds, squirrels, mice and rabbits.

    *Corn, sunflower seeds, nuts, suet, berries niger seed, etc.

  • Spencer Smith||

    Let us not forget that the theory of evolution holds that life will evolve to fill niche. So, if there's an animal that goes extinct- even if it provided an essential function- eventually one or more species will fill the vacated role in the ecosystem.

    Why are people afraid of THIS?!

  • Mango Punch||

    the theory of evolution holds that life will evolve to fill niche.

    An oft result of evolution, but definitelly not the theory itself.

  • Kevin W. Parker||

    Yes, but by "eventually" we're talking about tens of millions of years.

  • ||

    What?!? Are you retarded? Niche filling can happen very rapidly, depending on the niche.

  • ||

    Evolution works over generations, not years. That those generations may take X number of years is immaterial. Something with fast generations can evolve quickly.

  • Bayou Boy||

    You are way off the mark there. We have numerous examples of new species adapting to an environment within decades, not millions of years.

    Right now, there is the emergence of numerous new species of parrots occurring in Africa. That is in just the last century.

  • Mango Punch||

    Nevertheless, Sax and Gaines note that “net bird diversity (in spite of large changes in species composition) has remained largely unchanged on oceanic islands.” In other words, despite extinctions of endemic species, the number of avian species on any given island remains about steady because new species are introduced to them.

    But the gross number of bird spicies in the world has gone down.

  • ||

    Why does this matter? You seem to be avoiding the question quite obstinately. Maybe it's because you don't have a fucking answer.

  • Kevin W. Parker||

  • ||

    You seem to be unable to grasp "biodiversity" in terms of losing a few species here and there and "biodiversity" in terms of losing most species after a supervolcano or other extinction event.

  • Law Student||

    There is no answer. Life will always find a way in the long run. It is pretty arrogant of us to think of Humans as any more than a blip in the history of life on this planet so far.

  • Thomas||

    Nailed it.

  • Mango Punch||

    "hmm" nails part of the debate in his earlier posts. Some invasive species cause real and calculatable economic damage, while not necessarily worth the economic effort to prevent speciel spread, it demands consideration.

    The point I am making is that use of a resource (be it "purity of an environment" or "elimination of a species") has an unknown impact that is unmeasureable. For instance, I like (and eat) Blue Fin Tuna. Is my contribution to the potential extinction of Blue Fin Tuna an 'efficient' outcome? It is impossible to know the preferences of future people for Blue Fin.

    Also just because no individual has 'ownership' if a resource doesn't mean it can be freely destroyed. For instance, if I had the resources to, would you object if I were to carve my fave into the moon [i'm quite handsome]? it potentially lowers the utility of a vast group of people.

  • Ray Pew||

    Also just because no individual has 'ownership' if a resource doesn't mean it can be freely destroyed. For instance, if I had the resources to, would you object if I were to carve my fave into the moon [i'm quite handsome]? it potentially lowers the utility of a vast group of people.

    The fact that no one has defined ownership of such resources demonstrates the tragedy of the commons. Since no one can claim, say the moon, no one can claim that others cannot act upon it. One's utility of the item is solely from the ever changing state of the item.

  • ||

    I asked why is a fewer number of species overall a bad thing. You have once again utterly failed to answer that question.

    I'll try one more time: why is, say, 10% fewer bird species globally an issue? Why is it "bad", which seems to be your take on it? Nature kills off species all the time. Is this "bad"? Your only point seems to be some amorphous feeling that "less is bad, especially if it can in any way be traced to human activity". Which isn't really a point at all.

  • Chad||

    Easy, Episiarch: for the same damned reason that owning less cheap shit from China, a smaller penis-enhancing vehicle, or a less mansiony McMansion is bad.

  • Mango Punch||

    1) it's impossible to measure the 'value' of a species, but I'd put it somewhere above $0
    2) not only if it's related to human acitivity, I think it would be cool to have some donosaurs around (if they didn't kill us)
    3) While I am not a birder, there are people who gain enjoyment and pay significant amounts of money to travel to remote parts of the world to see exotic bird species - therefore these species have value

    Also, why does it bother you so much that people assign value to there being biodiversity - even if they don't dirrectly benefit from it?

  • ||

    You have taken a position that less species is a bad thing, without any proof to back it up. Nature kills off species because they are not competing well. Also, the "correct" number of species is the one that an ecosystem can sustain. If the dinosaurs hadn't gone extinct, we wouldn't be here.

    So it is utterly ridiculous to pretend that it is either good or bad that there are less or more overall species. It is merely what it is.

  • ||

    Epi, how about you don't like your stuff being confiscated for the crusades of people who spout "its the biological equivalent of flying from Seattle to Paris and going to Starbucks for your coffee"?

  • Thomas||

    Epi,

    You've discovered the fundamental flaw of environmentalist beliefs: their values change to fit the argument. On one discussion board they are utilitarians; on another they value biodiversity above all else; sometimes species richness is their ultimate value; occasionally they'll even claim that they are promoting what is best for the propagation of mankind.

    Thanks, Ron, for elucidating this inconsistency and the environmental movement's reliance on arbitrary and subjective preferences.

  • Chad||

    There is nothing inconsistent at all, Thomas. I am utilitiarian in my environmentalism, as all else.

    What is a species "worth", though? Can you put a number to it? Let's take a really popular species, perhaps a humpback whale? How can you put a number on this? Certainly, it is a huge number, one that starts with a "b"....for today's humans.

    But what about our children? And our great grandchildren? And given that whales have been around for at least forty million years, or 500,000 human lifetimes, and would likely have been around forty million more without our interference, don't you need to multiply that "number that starts with 'b'" by 500k? I see no reason at all to discount the future in this case. Our half million-greats grandchildren will enjoy looking at humpbacks just as much as we do. So I would argue that the NPV of humpbacks is on the order of 400 trillion. That's only eight times world GDP.

    That pretty much trumps the few hundred bucks we will all have to pay each year to switch to a clean economy.

    Thanks for playing!

    Chad

  • Politically Homeless||

    Ever hear/see Dennis Leary's No Cure For Cancer, Chad? He had animal auditions.

    Sea Otters were free to go, cows had to get on the truck...

  • skr||

    well then we should definitely save malaria as it has been around for millenia and therefore .. oh wait it doesn't have a cute face.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Just because there are people taking advantage of the availability of wild birds in their area, does not mean they are entitled to the continuous existence of the wild birds at the expense of others' property rights and so forth. The only way you could be entitled to the benefits from the birds is if you owned them directly.

  • roystgnr||

    Just because there are people taking advantage of the availability of non-toxic air in their area, does not mean they are entitled to the continuous existence of the air at the expense of others' property rights and so forth. The only way I could be any more of a parody of libertarianism is if I was actually a Captain Planet villain.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Poisonous contamination of the atmosphere causes actual harm to people. Its not the same thing.

  • roystgnr||

    Poisonous atmosphere doesn't harm anyone, any more than bird-free atmosphere does. You just have to buy your own birds and oxygen tanks.

  • ||

    "Why does this matter? You seem to be avoiding the question quite obstinately. Maybe it's because you don't have a fucking answer"

    Hmm, let me try.

    It matters to me because I think we should try and minimize (not eliminate) our adverse consequences on the planet.

    In general I think other species have an intrensic value besides what people put on them.

    So while I reconginze that modern human life does requires some bad effects on the planet, I still think we should try and reduce them where/when we can.

  • ||

    See my response just above to Mango Punch.

  • ||

    kroneberge: I do too. But how do you prioritize and what's the benefit versus the costs? The best way to do this is to assign property rights and move as much as possible into markets. Without that it's mostly hand-waving and attempts at free-riding, alas.

  • Chad||

    Ron, there are just so many factors that cannot possibly, even in the most remote stretch of the imagination, be privatized. Species are one of them. Their value is both unquantifiable in the present AND stretches for thousands of generations into the future. This leads to absurdities like the 400 trillion dollar whales I calculated above.

    The "market", which is based on prices, simply cannot handle this issue at all, and an entirely different system of decision making has to be used.

  • Ray Pew||

    The "market", which is based on prices, simply cannot handle this issue at all, and an entirely different system of decision making has to be used.

    The market is based on VALUE. Prices are merely the reflection of value.

    There is no other system that will come close to a free market, with defined property rights, in demonstrating the valuation of society. All other systems are impositions of the values of those in power.

    Though I do not claim that establishing property rights on water, air, species, etc. would be anything less than a monumental task.

  • Chad||

    No, the market responds to PRICES.

    It would be nice if it responded to the mythical "value" you so ferventedly believe in, but that's just a fairy tale.

    And since no society on earth has tried a free market, how would you know that one works?

  • Ray Pew||

    No, the market responds to PRICES.

    And this counters my statement how? Prices are reflections of VALUE. Can't escape this fact.

    It would be nice if it responded to the mythical "value" you so ferventedly believe in, but that's just a fairy tale.

    Value is now "mythical"? Amazazing!! Prices reflect value and the market responds to prices, so how is the market not responding to value?

    You are struggling so hard that you have contradicted your earlier appeal to the value of a species. If value is "mythical" as you assert, then you have no argument, not even personal preference, for saving any species from utter extinction.

    And since no society on earth has tried a free market, how would you know that one works?

    No society has ever been free of murder, but reason supports the idea that this would be beneficial and little compelling evidence counters it.

  • Chad||

    And this counters my statement how? Prices are reflections of VALUE. Can't escape this fact.

    They are very poor reflections. Therein lies the problem that you are not seeing.

    Things have values. Unfortunately, we don't have a good way to measure them.

  • Ray Pew||

    They are very poor reflections. Therein lies the problem that you are not seeing.

    Things have values. Unfortunately, we don't have a good way to measure them.

    True, values are difficult to "measure" but this doesn't mean that their ordinal rankings can't be observed in human action.

    What you wish to do is claim that the value of such things are not effectively demonstrated by human actions, but is really reflected in your valuation rankings, ironically which you claim can't be quantified, but which all should be forced to accept.

  • Chad||

    True, values are difficult to "measure" but this doesn't mean that their ordinal rankings can't be observed in human action.

    Wrong. Because in the real world, people aren't rational, and all the relevant values are not internalized.

  • Ray Pew||

    Wrong. Because in the real world, people aren't rational, and all the relevant values are not internalized.

    Whether people act rationally or not, is irrelevant, the fact is that they demonstrate their preferences through their choices. And to argue that people don't act rationally is to argue that no one should be in control, since they too would be constrained by this lack of rationality.

    You are again simply trying to argue that only you and a small group of high-minded individuals have the capacity to make rational choices and therefore should impose such views on the masses.

  • James C Bennett||

    "Things have values."

    I reject your axiom.

  • ||

    "kroneberge: I do too. But how do you prioritize and what's the benefit versus the costs? The best way to do this is to assign property rights and move as much as possible into markets. Without that it's mostly hand-waving and attempts at free-riding, alas."

    It's not easy I will grant you. I don't think there is any set way. You can't say oh well pigons are worth 5b, and bald eagles 10b (or whatever).

    Anyway, I think a general policy to try and avoid man caused extections of species is a good one.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Kroneborge,

    It matters to me because I think we [sic] should try and minimize (not eliminate) our [sic] adverse consequences on the planet.

    See how easy you fallaciously mixed together "I" with "We"?

    What's with this "WE" business, Kimosabe? If "YOU" are so worried about species extinction, open up a reserve - with your OWN money.

    In general I think other species have an intr[i]nsic value besides what people put on them.

    Which means you do not have the slightest idea of what "value" means. "Value", like "Beauty," are in the eye of the beholder.

    So while I reconginze that modern human life does requires some bad effects on the planet[...]

    "Bad effects"? As in "I think they're bad" bad, or as in "The Earth will tumble towards the Sun" bad?

    I still think we should try and reduce them where/when we can.

    Again with the "we" business...

  • ||

    Oh yes my bad, expressing the idea that "we" as in people should ever do something toghether. verbotim isn't it on a Lib website?

    The free market and the price mechanism are great for allocation resources between pizza and hamburgers. They free market doesn't have an answer for how many speicies destruction is acceptable.

    Maybe you slept through the second half of economics class so let me remind you.

    Economics deals with what is efficient, people are also concerned with what is "fair" or equitable. Thus some decisions are made that have nothing to do with price, or getting the most efficient outcome.

    So yes "I" believe that WE as a people should take care to reduce our bad effects on the environment. I'm even willing to let government use it's monpoly of fource in some areas to do it (for example to prevent the elimination of a species, or stop pollution in a stream).

    Yes that's right I said it. The world is not black and white, their our shadeds of gray. There is a middle ground between big government liberalism, and no government libertarianism.

  • LarryA||

    The introduction of several exotic species into Texas resulted in expanded hunting and photography opportunities and other recreational benefits. In addition, the stable Texas population is a source of animals that can help repopulate areas where the animals have become endangered.

    But every now and then something goes really wrong, like rabbits in Australia.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Cane Toads.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130529/

    Now in 3D
    http://www.filmthreat.com/reviews/22371/

  • Attorney||

    I hate fucking kudzu. And fucking starlings and house sparrows.

  • skr||

    buy a pellet gun

  • skr||

    you can shoot starlings and house sparrows on sight.

  • LarryA||

    You can also shoot kudzu. Conceded it's not very effective.

  • ||

    Anyone ever hear about the the black-tailed and white tailed jackrabbit?

    They are the dark secret environmentalists do not want you know about.

  • Chad||

    Leave it to Ron to bend over backwards to pick a few cherries, and miss the whole darned orchard growing right in front of him.

    http://climateprogress.org/201.....oris-worm/

    http://climateprogress.org/201.....t-by-2100/


    Hey, we've only lost 40% of the phytoplankton and a third of vertebrates in the last few decades, and are projected to lose only a solid majority of the rainforests and their associated species this century.

    But lets hoot and holler about how few species invasives have wiped out....yet.

    Btw, Ron. How do you account for these extinctions in your vaunted cost-benefit analyses? The answer is "You don't".

  • Chad||

  • Law Student||

    What the fuck does any of that have to do with invasive species? Unless you think of humans as an invasive species in which case go ahead and kill your self to save the planet.

  • ||

    Ignore Chad, it's just a sockpuppet designed to piss people off with its ultra-arrogant and condescending attitude.

  • Chad||

    You have a patient who has AIDS, cancer, and a gunshot wound lying before you. Is it rational to say "Well, it's not a big concern to expose him to pneumonia, because it isn't THAT deadly".

  • trueofvoice||

    He's pointing out that a mass extinction is in progress due to human activity. It would be nice if you'd stop and think before throwing out ill-considered expletives.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    Hey, we've only lost 40% of the phytoplankton and a third of vertebrates in the last few decades, and are projected to lose only a solid majority of the rainforests and their associated species this century.

    You are breaking my palpitating heart!

    "Climate progress"??? Where do you get these crackpot . . . oh, sorry, Chad - I didn't realize that you tread where other crackpots dare not.

  • Chad||

    Everyone one of these is peer-reviewed article or official government report. I normally dont cite the actual journal articles because most readers don't have access to them, and fewer still would bother to actually read them.

    That would include you.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    Did you read them yourself? Because I found this tidbit from one of the links:

    "Analyses of satellite-derived phytoplankton concentration (available since 1979) have suggested decadal-scale fluctuations linked to climate forcing, but the length of this record is insufficient to resolve longer-term trends. Here we combine available ocean transparency measurements and in situ chlorophyll observations to estimate the time dependence of phytoplankton biomass at local, regional and global scales since 1899."

    So basically they are doing number fudging a la East Anglia. As for "official government report", that carries as much verisimilitude as a 3-cent coin.

    You certainly walk over the cinders to get this info. It's a shame they burn your feet to the bone.

  • ||

    "Peer reviewed articles or official government report[sic]."

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

  • Chad||

    Did you read them yourself?

    Yes, actually. Well, not the entire UNEP report, but the greater part of it.

    So basically they are doing number fudging a la East Anglia. As for "official government report", that carries as much verisimilitude as a 3-cent coin

    My God. You don't even have half of a clue how ignorant you are, do you?

    dunningkrugerdunningkrugerdunningkruger

    The aren't doing "number fudging", they are doing science. If you can't tell the difference, you are so wildly idiotic that you are beyond any help.

  • trueofvoice||

    No, but they have helped demonstrate that you don't understand basic scientific concepts.

    What the qoute means is that they conducted statistical sampling to estimate the rate of decrease over the last century, but the data set is too short to project what will happen in the future.

    If you don't like their results, then do what a scientist would do and attempt to replicate their findings.

    I won't hold my breath waiting.

  • Kevin W. Parker||

    It seems by the same argument that it would be a more diverse world if wherever you went a third of the people were white, a third were black, and a third were Asian, rather than having places where you have nothing but Australian aborigines or native Americans. That seems like a potted definition of diversity to me.

  • trueofvoice||

    Wrong. Put more effort into your thinking.

  • ||

    It would be a more diverse world for humans if wherever you went, there were at least a few whites, a few blacks, a few asians, a few people of mixed races, and so on, with the percentages of each varying by area.

    Now, if you were a racist, you might think that was bad, but it would be inarguably more diverse. And arguably more interesting.

  • ||

    diversity of form is so dull. diversity of thought.....

  • ||

    The last time I cut it, it was teaming with baby toads.

    I bet that got messy.

  • Old Mexican||

    Sax and New Mexico University biologist James Brown correctly observe that whether the impacts of introduced species "are considered to be positive or negative, good or bad is a subjective value judgment rather than an objective scientific finding.["]



    As in "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO DETERMINE THAT, NITWIT?? GOD??"

    That pretty much sums up the utter futility of trying to manage Life.
  • ||

    Its just that ole' puritancial, WCTU, progressive impulse.

  • trueofvoice||

    Did you not fully read the article, Bailey? It specifically states that GLOBALLY, biodiversity is in decline. Since we're talking about a GLOBAL phenomenon, maybe you should stop trying to confuse the issue with local effects.

    You seem to be of the opinion that what happens GLOBALLY is irrelevant as long as what's in your back yard looks ok. I am appalled at your consistent anti-science bias in areas which clearly indicate humans are having a net negative impact.

    Congratulations, you've managed to embarass yourself yet again.

  • Dave||

    An example of an invasive species (cheatgrass) potentially causing extinction: "By 1985 no Malheur wire-lettuce plants were observed at the site, and the species was considered extinct in the wild. Disappearance of Malheur wire-lettuce was correlated with a large increase in cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum ), a non-native invasive annual grass which had appeared at the site after a fire." http://oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/CO.....stma.shtml

  • bigT||

    I challenge Bailey - or anyone - to show me the absolutely exhaustive list of species on this planet, or even in a small patch. New species are being discovered all the time. It is estimated that we have only categorized about half of the species in the world, maybe fewer.

    So how can you say that more species have or have not gone extinct? The article is pure rubbish.

    And zebra mussels suck even if they haven't driven out other species, they are a serious and expensive issue for the Great Lakes.

  • Chad||

    That's a pretty tricky proposition. Discoveries of "big" species are very rare now. The vast majority of species are single-cell, and the vast majority of the rest are plants, fungi, and insects. They are disappearing (and evolving) faster than we can count them.

  • MJ||

    If Asian Carp were tasty sportfish, no one would mind them being in the Lakes. If they are going to displace, walleye, smallmouth, northern pike, and lake trout, I have cousins who are going take it damned personally.

  • skr||

    IIRC, that particular carp is tasty. It just has the unfortunate name of carp which is associated with the common carp we are all familiar with ad it only tasty small and smoked. This particular carp is different.

  • Neu Mejican||

    It feeds billions of Asians.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So do fucking dogs. The existence of a particular fact does not make that fact inherently good.

  • ||

    Humans are evil. Therefore whatever humans do to change the environment is wrong.

  • skr||

    this

  • hmm||

    To qualify all I wrote in this thread since some is being taken out of context and examples are being used across discussions.

    You can't stop species migrating, mother nature is a bitch and she does what she wants. The issue I have is with human intervention without consideration to what may happen. I'm not advocating lawn cops for every city, customs agents ransacking all shipments. My point is that large scale projects to introduce species and large scale oversights like Elm beetles are not difficult to stop or at least consider the impact of before acting. Simple things like multi species plantings for large scale plantings, a little common sense with importing species or propagating species for wide spread use, and 10 minutes of think about what might happen would go a long way.

    I've watched 100s of 80" Pin and Red Oaks die to wilt as the beetles just strolled down the street. I have images of Elm trees so large and so thick that they completely shaded a 4 lane road for 2 miles, now there is one Elm on that stretch and the largest tree is about 40 years old. The removal of 100 oaks on a stretch of road runs into the 10s of thousands of dollars and impacts property values beyond the removal costs.

    All I'd ask for is 10 minutes of thought, some common sense, and less shit like its all based on aesthetics. To me this a professional issue for a broad range of professions. Unfortunately government gets involved in control and spreading the problem.

  • Politically Homeless||

    Sax and New Mexico University biologist James Brown correctly observe that whether the impacts of introduced species “are considered to be positive or negative, good or bad is a subjective value judgment rather than an objective scientific finding. Scientists are no more uniquely qualified to make such ethical decisions than lay people.”

    This reminds me of SJ Gould, and it's a fair point. However, this doesn't mean WE can't place a value on Nature, just that science itself is impartial and silent. It is human interpretation that places "value" on the findings.

    I'm personally more concerned about the evolutionary pressures of climate change than invasive species, but in both cases, my values are that we treat the environment with more care because we're all stuck on this rock with nowhere else to go.

  • hmm||

    Big River Fish Co. is catching and exporting Asian Carp. Just a shout out for market solutions to real life problems.

    http://www.bigriverfish.com/
    http://www.connecttristates.co.....?id=486517

  • Politically Homeless||

    I read about that previously, but the concern of the Great Lakes fisheries is aggressive fishing of the carp won't be enough.

    The Lakes fisheries want the river canal closed, but it's remaining open for commerce purposes, but what I'm wondering is why the canal commerce should trump the Lakes commerce? Why don't the canal commerce people build their own solution? What is the libertarian solution to this?

  • hmm||

    Ya, not a complete solution, but it's at least a start.

    I wish I had a solution, libertarian or not.

  • ||

    Just for the record the Great Lakes were under thousands of feet of glacial ice 15,000 years ago. No trout, no lampreys, no perch. Since then they have been "invaded" and colonized by alien species. As time goes on more species will arrive causing more disruption and more "diversity". Our lives are less than a blink of an eye compared to the history of the earth.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Which is one reason why we shouldn't impose the market, a byproduct of human activity, on the rest of the world as the ultimate answer to all of our problems.

    That's arrogance.

    I believe in the market to deal with the majority of human institutions, but to dole out answers to things that have been happening long before a market existed and long after the last deal goes down is not its role.

  • ||

    You people will all be sorry when the walking catfish stroll into the nursery and eat your babies.

  • ||

    watch the squid, the humboldt squid. It looks like they've decided not to wait for your extinction.

  • skr||

    I'm not sure creatures like songbirds are communal resources. I guess it revolves around the notion that they migrate or at least wander around across property lines. So it must therefore be shared like oceanic fish. I thinks there might be a difference for land based creatures. The setting up of habitat is far more easy on land. This could lead to songbirds being a transferrable resource. John could have some land that supports songbirds but he wants to use that land for a different perpose because at the curent time songbirds are of no value to him. Whereas, Pete might think that songbird hold promise for some such thing and therefore he is willing to own propety in order to possibly cultivate the future value of said songbirds.
    Now that I think about it, there are places I have been out in the desert that cultivate native bird populations for birdwatchers so that they can possibly sell them some other stuff. I think it is called China Ranch. Maybe there is a current value to native birds.

  • CSI||

    At first I couldn't believe how foolish this article is, then it occurred to me that it is actually consistent with hardcore libertarian positions.

    Attempting to restrict foreign species from entering == immigration restrictions, which is bad.

    Attempting to remove or restrict invasive species == governement welfare for native species, which is bad.

    Native species have to stand on their own two foot and compete honestly with the introduced species.

    I'll give you guys points for consistency if nothing else.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Episiarch|8.10.10 @ 5:10PM|#

    So tell us why it matters? Really, explain why exactly it matters if native songbird populations are down.

    You need to read some EO Wilson:

    In your new book Future of Life you deflate the myth that environmental policy is hostile to economic growth. Can you elaborate?

    Wilson: The living resources of the world — ecosystems and its species — are still largely unexplored, much less studied for the benefits they might hold for humans, for example, new pharmaceuticals or water purification. Some ecologists and economists have estimated that the total value of these natural ecosystems, that’s the total amount of services they provide to humanity, is in the vicinity of 30 trillion dollars a year. That’s more than the total of the gross national products of all nations combined. And it’s free!

    To save and make fuller use of them in a non-obtrusive way is economically valuable to us. To destroy them is to force humanity into an artificial world in which we have to personally manage our water systems, our food supply, and our atmosphere by prosthetic devices day by day instead of relying on powerful organisms to do the work for us. Do we want to turn Earth literally into a spaceship that requires constant tinkering?
  • Neu Mejican||

    For an example:

    The loss of, say, pollinating insects can have a devastating effect on human economies. In North America that role is played largely by an invasive species, one that is currently under threat/pressure. Loss of bees in the US would have a significant impact on human economies. Besides, honey tastes good.

  • ice Hockey Bag||

    I am not sure how destructive the asian carp are going to be. They said the zebra mussel was going to doom the Lakes about a decade ago, for much the same reason, a voracious appetite and no natural predators. The biggest effect was that Lake Erie water was clear for a few years. It's now back to its normal green color.Thanks for sharing this blog with us.

  • PECB||

    "“There is no evidence that even a single long term resident species has been driven to extinction, or even extirpated within a single U.S. state, because of competition from an introduced plant species,” Macalester College biologist Mark Davis notes [PDF]"

    That's simply not true. One example are "Salt Cedars" wich tend to drive out other trees and plants (more so than most common tree/plant competition does) and transforms the local ecology reducing the local flora and fauna diversity.

  • Mike||

    Genetic diversity is important because in any long-term time scale it is the only completely non-renewable natural resource. Evolution doesn't create new dinosaurs. Until we've come up with a way to effectively synthesized different species, every extinction loses millions of years of evolutionary data. Data that may be worthless or duplicated or essential for some human need - we just don't know.

    But their incredibly rarity should give them a value regardless. There are only about 60,000 species of vertebrate for the entire planet. Every one lost forever changes the future of life as we know it exists. Yes, extinction occurs naturally, but it doesn't make it any less of a disaster when it does.

  • trueofvoice||

    Exactly. Why would another mass extinction be ok simply because they've happened in the past? Some in this thread are essentially saying that it's ok to saw through the tree branch you're sitting on, because other branches broke before you got there!

  • ||

    Why would evolution create new dinosaurs? The fittest survived--and the majority of dinosaurs were not among them.

    But, I'll give you this, evolution is stupid. It selects for one thing and one thing only--prolific breeding. Thus, if conditions were right, evolution would probably bring about enormous animals again.

    And if rarity imparts value, let's look at a species that has only one form on the planet. Among all the vertebrates there is only one type of this animal. There are types of elephants, rhinos, monkeys and apes. There are scores of types of dogs, birds, cats. All the life fills a myriad of niches. Except one species.

    There is only one species of Man. Homo sapiens sapiens stands alone among all the fauna of the Earth.

    Why does that species have so little value? Why is it's success, it's survival seen as such a problem?

    Not one other species on the planet cares if it dies out.

    But Man cares for all of them, even at his own expense. Why isn't that worth something?

  • Mike||

    Are you arguing with me? Because I don't think I claimed what you think I claimed?

    Someone asked what base good was served by biodiversity, and I answered. I said nothing about how to balance that good against the needs of our own species.

  • ||

    I don't know the scientific names, but the new lily pads in my lake reproduced like crazy, and now there aren't any of the old lily pads left, the bottom is mucky and getting your boat around is damn near impossible. I say, eradicate the invaders.

  • ||

    Ah, humans, how precious a thing you are. You barely understand that you are alive, never mind the particulars of that life, much less hows and whys, and yet you think you can make pronouncements about 'how things are', and attempt to control things that are not controllable for reasons that you cannot grasp.

    In the great scope of All Things, you are but crawling infants struggling to pull yourselves up, baby birds with that push out of the nest looming before you.

    And it comes, my delightful rationalizing animals, it comes.

  • ||

    Yes, what arrogance humans must have to someone who has the gall to claim to speak for the entire biosphere as if with the distilled wisdom of 4.5 billion years of planetary evolution. Yes, surely it is all of humanity that is arrogant here.

  • ||

    The 'biosphere'? Why would I speak for the biosphere?

    I am lauding the progress you've made, and chiding your childish overreach.

  • ||

    The one instance of biodiversity I would much rather do without would be goathead thorns.

  • Robert Efroymson||

    "New Mexico University biologist James Brown". There is no such thing as "New Mexico University". It is called The University of New Mexico, or to us locals: UNM.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Indeed. He's not from New Mexico State University, but University of New Mexico.

  • wsanman||

    I live in the Pacific Northwest. Here, one of the most loathed "non-natives" (at least by governmental busybodies) is the blackberry, or more accurately, the Himalayan Blackberry. The vines they grow on aren't much to look at, and they have some nasty big thorns, but the berries are heavenly - just about the most tasty berries to be found on this earth. Excellent right off of the vine, but the pies and jams that are made from these blackberries are a favorite of many. In fact, this "invasive species" has really become an ingrained part of our regional culture, particularly in August when the berries ripen in the late summer heat: Many families have a favorite roadside where they've picked blackberries for decades, so that they can make a big batch of jam which gets devoured as an ingredient in the PB&Js; that kids all over this region enjoy for lunch when school starts a few weeks later. So, our local governments have been preaching to us for years about the need to eradicate this, and yet the blackberry has, in a way, become a traditional comfort food of the late summer. You can have my blackberries when you pull them from my cold, dead fingers.

  • ||

    R.H.;
    "Some extinctions can't be avoided, they do happen naturally, albeit at a much lower rate than now." A common trope. But when challenged to list said extinctions, a paltry few are offered. The huge current rate of extinctions is entirely hand-waving WAGs. It sounds like, and is, much more of a political statistical invention than scientific datum.

  • ||

    My god this article is ridiculous! If you want to talk about the merits of the effort to try to prevent extinctions, go ahead. If you want to talk about whether it's right that native plants have higher status than introduced plants, feel free. These are worthy topics and have been discussed in the above comments. But don't try to pretend that introducing species is not in general harmful to native ones, it's insulting to our intelligence. You notice that most of the comments above have completely ignored your dishonest points and gone straight to the more interesting questions. Your commenters are smarter than you and see through you even when they don't point it out.

  • bags||

    There are many uses for biological species (food, medicine, etc) so they obviously can be seen as a resource that is beneficial to mankind. We are fortunate to have such a biodiversity to mine for our uses, and future generations deserve that opportunity also. So to destroy species is a harm to future humans, and (IMO) should be strongly avoided.

  • Scarf||

    Currently i do not think future laws are what is causing the lion's share of the uncertainty among employers.

  • fendi bags||

    I agree few specise are lost but if they are lost due to invasive species it may well be that new species plays the same role in the ecosystem.

  • bags||

    But when challenged to list said extinctions, a paltry few are offered. The huge current rate of extinctions is entirely hand-waving WAGs. It sounds like, and is, much more of a political statistical invention than scientific datum.

  • ||

    The diversity increase you talk of is possible only with exteme human intervention is it not? Here in Australia were it not for intervention there would have been a loss of plants and animals. Prickly pear cactus had become a plague that was rapidly invading agricultural lands even blocking lesser used roads, it grew so fast until the cactoblastis month was introduced. Many other introduced animals have elimated many ground dwelling marsupials, frogs, etc. Is it true increase of diversity if many native plants and animals are only protected by intervention or found only in small isolated pockets? May be there but for how long? An interesting premise, these are my observations.

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

  • Jordan Shoes||

    so perfect.

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