Monday, November 14, 2005
Over the Edge
The Environment News Service has this story about the impacts of invasive plants on Australian rainforest. A study revealed that habitat previously considered to be undisturbed was actually home to such invasives as coffee (Coffea arabica), guava (Psidium guajava), and mango (Mangifera indica). Yes, that's right, some agricultural crops are actually good weeds too. One biologist is hoping that studying the characteristics of the rainforest invaders will reveal clues about what makes them successful, allowing conservationists to target new non-natives before they become a problem.
It a very difficult task to know which species will invade knowing only their characteristics. This was a popular approach in the 60’s (it is called the ideal weed approach) but not now, due to the number of problems with it. For example we know now that very similar species could behave in a very different mode (very invasive vs no-invasive)
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