The original intent of describing the controlling of invasive species in militaristic terms was to inspire action to help the problem. According to Brendon MH Larson, however, it has done nearly the opposite. In the article, “The War of the Roses: Demilitarizing Invasion Biology,” Larson claims that despite the short term attention drawn from words such as combat or eradicate, the long term effects prove to be insufficient. In one instance, Larson cites the “‘boomerang’ effect, whereby ‘extremely intense language or images used for purpose of persuasion can have an opposite effect on the receiver,” as studied by Mio (1997). Despite Larson’s coherent argument, the warlike approach builds up an idea in the audience’s minds that invasive species are the enemies. In the end, creating a negative attitude against them may ultimately drive future decisions against them when given the opportunity.
One instance of the effectiveness of the combative approach is seen in Rejmanek et al. in 2002. The belligerentword, “eradication” is clearly labeled in the title, and 51 other times throughout the article. Other militaristic words such as “strategy” and “target” are coupled with “eradication” to describe the efforts against invasive species. The article itself argues that the “eradication” of a particularly invasive weed is feasible with possible biocontrol methods. Larson argues that the militaristic language is ”misleading” because it assumes “we can pit ourselves against invasive species.” As seen in the case of Rejmanek et al., we can in fact successfully rid an area of an invasive species, thus proving Larson wrong.
Larson, B. M. H. 2005. The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3: 495-500.
Rejmanek, M., M. J. Pitcairn. 2002. When is eradication of exotic pest plants a realistic goal? In Veitch, C. R. and Clout, M. N. (eds.). Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group: 249-253