Saturday, June 19, 2010

Invasive species like annoying houseguests

By Katlyn Gossett

Non-native invasive species are akin to a distant relative coming to visit for Thanksgiving. They invade your room, they eat all your food, they use all your toilet paper; and all you get out of the experience is a headache and a messy house.

This infamous and unwanted ‘relative’ has been causing environmentalists and neighboring parties’ problems for almost 60 years.

“Invasive species cause many troubles for the environment and are usually introduced by people. They have a negative impact on the quality of human life, cause economical damage, and cause environmental disturbances,” said Steve Johnson, assistant professor of wildlife ecology.

But after the food is gone, your relatives’ stomachs have settled, and after slyly mentioning the long ride home, they leave just as swiftly as they had come. Getting rid of invasive species requires a little more than subtle hints.

Environmentalists endure months which can lead to years of rigorous questioning and incessant experiments to get the government to even acknowledge a non-native invasive species.

Colette Jacono, who specifies in the study of plants, becomes flustered every time she thinks about a non-native invasive plant encroaching on a privately owned piece of land.

“The land owner expects the government to take care of the invasive species, but the government doesn’t even recognize the plant and has no money to come up with a solution,” Jacono said.

The method of having an eco-friendly herbicide created is equally difficult and managing a non-native invasive species is just as costly.

There are only twelve water soluble herbicides that made it through the meticulous process and there are hundreds of water “pests” that need to be managed.

Not all invasive species intimidate with size or brawn, but with a fiery sting like fire ants.

“If I could get rid of one non-native species with a snap of my fingers, it would be fire ants,” Johnson said.

It might not be as easy as a snap of a finger but Johnson has the right idea; the management of non-native invasive species is an issue that needs to be as easy as one, two, and three.

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