RE: The War on Invasive Species

I was very disappointed in the article The War on Invasive Species, Last Word by By Conor Mihell in the current issue of the magazine (Winter 2023). Actually, I thought (hope) it was there to start discussion, not because it was really a serious approach to the topic.

There may possibly be a case for not removing invasive species, at least in some circumstances but this article displayed a very shallow understanding of what people who care about biodiversity are faced with. The article shows no understanding of the actual damage done to habitats by a wide variety of invasives. The article makes it appear that the need to remove them is based on “invasion biology” and implies that those involved in trying to save the biodiversity we have want to remove all invasives everywhere just because they are there. It also states that this quest is futile, especially because there are other more destructive pressures and only a very small number of plants cause a problem. Of course it would be a futile effort if that was the goal, but it is not.

He disrespects the scientists, forestry workers and volunteers that study their own areas and prioritize which invasives need removing based on the specific damage they cause to their habitat that is needed by wildlife or food production. There is limited space and resources to try to mitigate the damage caused and only a few techniques have shown success. There is a big difference between respecting different plants and other creatures and saying that it is fine for them to take over and choke out everything else just because they can since they don’t have any natural predators in their new environment.

– Sharon Lovett, Toronto