The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Non-native plants/permaculture discussion link

Non-native plants/permaculture discussion link

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 883
Any way you cut it non native plants have not co-evolved with the environment. Indisputable. Introducing non natives is a crap shoot where losing is more likely than winning. Ask the Asians that got screwed out of their 3000 native rice varieties and now can't afford cultivars because of their need for added soil inputs (that may create pollution).

There is no real evidence that either cultivars or non native plants have helped the environments where they have been introduced. Quite the opposite in most cases. Genetic diversity has been drastically reduced worldwide. This is a prescription for eventual ruin. Did anyone read the links?

I found a review of Mark Davis' "Invasion Biology" that was most interesting.­

The road to ruin can be paved with good intentions.

David Spahr
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,178
Just curious... do people define "native" as plants that were in Maine in...

1400 AD
1600 AD
1000 AD
5000 BC
[because the species composition would be quite different at any of those points in history.]

We know that prior to European colonization, humans on this continent were selecting and moving things around from other parts of the continent... clearly not to the same extent as during the last 500 years, of course.

I do know that "not native" does NOT equal invasive. Some non natives are overly vigorous at exploiting a niche (often a niche we've created!). Others, well, I wonder? Apples, wheat, corn, white people:) I would never knowingly plant something that could cause major disruption. But I do consider myself one member of one species (albeit a keystone species) who is a tinkering participant in my ecosystem (not separate than, above or "better than" nature). Like any other species, I will probably find creative ways to meet my needs (within the broader spectrum of ethics and principles that I find helpful in permaculture, especially knowing limits and accepting feedback from the ecosystem). As a keystone species with the ability to incur massive impact on any given ecosystem, it's time to move on from species self-hate (i.e. anything humans touch goes to shit) and take on the much much harder task of how to be a responsible and regenerative species in our ecosystems. Naive, perhaps. It's a big piece of work to take that responsibility to heart, starting with the way we treat one another, of course. Plants are way easier than people:)

And....I don't speak for any other permaculture-inspired person. It's just not black and white, is what I'm saying.

David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 885
I never said that "not native" is invasive. I did say that some cultivars are OK when they are not invasive and if they stay in people's own yards. I am also saying that cultivars with native analogs are not a good idea. They reduce genetic diversity. This is a fact. They are not co-evolved. They can pollute the wild genome.

Obviously there is nothing in our environment that has not been jimmyed with. Pointing this out does not make any of it right and is not a good justification to keep doing it. You can't change the history. The history shows that there have been many deleterious effects.

Then there is wheat, corn, and white people. It wouldn't be hard to find fault here. You certainly wouldn't have trouble finding people that are not happy with any them.


David Spahr
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 351
For anyone interested, Toby has posted a bunch more today on this site to further the discussion.
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