By: David Lung
Larson criticizes the militaristic language that biologists use in order to inform the public. Doing so would ultimately describe invasive species wrongly, cause a backlash from the people because we were at fault to begin with for bringing in these invasive species and create a fear of these plants that might be counterproductive to conservation. He argues that waging war is not a good description for controlling invasive species because they are a part of our lives now and we were the ones that gave them the opportunity to live in foreign environments. Also, he states that it is impossible to completely get rid of these species from ecosystems they have already invaded and the methods to restore a particular ecosystem might cause further problems. Larson states that the rhetoric should be toned down considerably and we should work on preventing the spread of invasive species and accept that they are a part of the ecosystems they now inhabit based on our own actions
“Cyrtobagous Salviniae destroyed terminal and lateral buds on the parent plant which partially compensated for this loss by producing new buds of higher order rank, some of which were also attacked by adults and larvae.” (Forno and Semple 1987)
I saw this quote on a study of the salvinia weevil as a potential biocontrol agent of giant salvinia (salvinia molesta). Using terms like “destroyed” and “attacked” gave this sentence a militaristic tone. The authors could have stated that the salvinia weevil ate the terminal and lateral buds or simply that the insect controlled the giant salvinia by doing so. I somewhat disagree with Larson’s argument though. In my opinion it is obvious that we were the main agents that brought invasive species, but to allow these invasive species to live with us when they already do so much damage to the ecological services native organisms provide, it does not make sense to live peacefully with them. The damage these invasive species do is not overexaggerated for the most part. They are essentially parasites, outcompeting native species that have already reached an equilibrium with their ecosystem and also disrupting the overall balance of the ecosystems they now inhabit. The backlash he talks is somewhat probably because these invasive species such as the Sitka black-tailed deer that help people with a lower socioeconomic status. Overall, I do believe the militaristic tone is necessary and effective for preserving what is left of pristine ecosystems from invasive species, but also to restore invaded ecosystems to the best of our ability because we are at fault for disrupting those ecosystems and should be reminded in the urgency of the problem we’re responsible for.
Larson, B.M.H. 2005. “The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3: 495-500.
Forno, I.W. and J.L. Semple. 1987. “Response to Salvinia Molesta to insect damage: changes in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content.” Oecologia. 73: 71-74.