I would like to take this opportunity to plant a seed (native of course) and see how it grows. In other words, articulate a new concept to our partners and followers and see if it resonates.
For many years now, we have been tackling invasive species from a straight-forward – find em’ and stop em’ approach. Although this methodology is important from an early detection/rapid response perspective and should continue, it does have limitations. As soon as we suppress one population, another is observed elsewhere. As soon as we get a leg up on one species, another one comes-a-knockin’.
Our mission includes the words “protect native habitats, biodiversity and natural areas”. It’s the protection of natural systems that we really want to accomplish, isn’t it? As an example of my concept let me say this, if we protect our forests from invasive pests, this translates into healthy, resilient forests which further serves to protect healthy waters. Therefore, if we protect the Tug Hill forests, we also protect the Tug Hill aquifer and hydraulically connected waterways which makes the entire system more resilient and healthier. If we reduce the impact that aquatic invasive species have on Lake Ontario embayment’s, then we are protecting, fisheries, recreation, and the general ecological balance of our waterways— making the entire system more resilient and healthier. If we prevent invasive species from establishing themselves on our globally rare alvar systems and encourage the growth of diverse native plants, we then make these systems healthier and more resilient to climate change, don’t we?
Now that I have worked the soil, let me introduce the seed. If we were to think about our approaches more in terms of, what system is this species affecting and what can we do as a partnership to lessen the impact, create resiliency and restore/protect the ecological health of that system, and if we strive for this, shouldn’t our work become more impactful? Rather than an approach like (there’s some swallow-wort here and some over there – we had better get it), let’s think more about the system that the swallowwort is affecting (forests and forest regeneration or perhaps grasslands that support song birds with specialized feeding habits) and then lets consider what we can do as a partnership, on a larger scale, that will serve to protect that system as a whole and make it more resilient and healthier in the process.
I thank you for your contemplation!