[Tweeters] Introduced Species - the next step - the yard

Stewart Wechsler ecostewart at quidnunc.net
Mon Apr 10 13:18:01 PDT 2006

As many of you know I have a lot to say on this issue, but I will wait until
I have the time to give it enough thought for my best response, but I will
agrue this one point:

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Mlodinow
" ...Even if you dislike blackberries, it is hard to argue that they are
worse for wildlife than a short mowed lawn. ... "

Mowed lawns, while supporting very little species diversity - native or
otherwise, don't usually spread thier seed over the landscape if the grass
is mowed before the seed is set (except for some species with very low
flowers like Poa annua - Annual Bluegrass). "Himalayan" Blackberries (Rubus
armeniacus/ procera/ discolor) are bird dispersed species that after feeding
certain bird and mammal species are spread like rain over the whole
landscape in little packets of fertilizer and go on to spread further every
year. With each generation more habitat is destroyed for all species of
organisms that are not adapted to the blackberry thickets that cover both
sunny and shady sites.

As most of us know, most of our birds, and other organisms are limited by
how much appropriate habitat they have. Every day another square meter is
covered by more Himalayan Blackberries all of the species that made up that
habitat and depended on that habitat go one step closer to extinction.

Furthermore, I don't know why Eastern Washington needs any of or more of
certain species adapted to human altered landscapes or landscapes more like
western Washington, such as the American Robins, White-crowned Sparrows,
Dark-eyed Juncos, Bewick's Wren, Northern Flickers Steve mentioned in his
earlier post. If these birds are now seen in Eastern Washington or more
common in Eastern Washington because of the Russian Olives I don't think we
need these birds there. I'd rather have those birds that are adapted to the
plants that were typical of that area before Euro-American contact, such as
the native steppe grasses and herbs or the sagebrush - Artemisia tridentata
and Bitterbrush - Purshia tridentata, or the "coyote" willows - Salix exigua
and the Choke Cherries - Prunus virginiana that historically grew along the
waterways there. When I go to east of the cascades I want to see Sage
Sparrows and Sharp Tailed Grouse, not Bewicks Wrens.

Stewart Wechsler
Ecological Consulting
West Seattle
206 932-7225
ecostewart at quidnunc.net

-Advice on the most site-appropriate native plants
and how to enhance habitat for the maximum diversity
of plants and animals
-Educational programs, nature walks and field trips
-Botanical Surveys

-----Original Message-----
From: SGMlod at aol.com [mailto:SGMlod at aol.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 09, 2006 6:50 PM
To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] Introduced Species - the next step - the yard

Greetings Again

Well, since I've gone so far off on this limb, when not saw it off behind

There is one pervasive introduced plant that most of us have growing
within 100 feet of us at this moment. Bermuda Grass.

If we really wanted to improve wildlife habitat, we'd get rid of big
short-grass lawns (unless you live in Hawai'i, where Pacific Golden-Plovers
and Nene are fond of them), and plant shrubs, trees, whatever. Heck, even
plant native stuff. Forget the blackberries and Russian Olives (and
definitely forget the cheat grass). But while we are worried about Russian
Olive groves, how many square miles are planted in this worthless stuff when
wildlife friendly alternatives exist. Even if you dislike blackberries, it
is hard to argue that they are worse for wildlife than a short mowed lawn.

If we did that and removed the artificially introduced predators we
release from our homes, we'd do a heckuva lot of good for our native
wildlife, I think, even in fairly urban settings.

Off my hobby horse and to Bulgaria I go.
Steven Mlodinow
Everett WA
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.385 / Virus Database: 268.3.5/302 - Release Date: 4/5/2006

More information about the Tweeters mailing list