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

Non-native plants/permaculture discussion link

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 343
An active discussion on permaculture from a native plants site. Interesting series of responses. Be sure to read Toby Hemenway's response. It's interesting to see how some folks outside the permaculture movement view us. It's also interesting how much one's world view colors our understanding of what we see when we look at the natural world and it's doings.

http://nativeplantwil...­
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 880
You know what my message has been right along. I feel like I could have written this myself.

I find Toby Hemenway's response to be well thought out with some valid points but still mostly justification.

“How can we understand what is really happening and use our understanding to minimize human impact and preserve biodiversity?” And the data really seem to be saying two things: that our disturbance is most of the problem, and that nature is using all the resources she can to undo it in a complex process that we don’t grasp at all.

There is probably some truth to this. Once you have said this, you can go on and do what you want. Monsanto would have no problem with using this reasoning.

David Spahr
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 346
I've read that Monsanto has been a cash resource, funding the fight against exotic plants. Apparently they see this as a growth opportunity for sales of herbicides like Roundup to kill these plants.

More disturbance.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 348
"Let me tell you about the invasive plant that scares me more than all the others. It’s one that has infested over 80 million acres in the US, usually in virtual monocultures. It is a heavy feeder, depleting soil of nutrients. Everywhere it grows, the soil is badly eroded. The plant offers almost no wildlife habitat, and since it is wind pollinated, it does not provide nectar to insects. It’s a plant that is often overlooked on blacklists, yet it is responsible for the destruction of perhaps more native habitat than any other species. Research shows that when land is lost to this species, native plants rarely return; they can’t compete with it. It should go at the top of every native-plant lover’s list of enemies. This plant’s name".....

http://www.patternlit...­
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 881
You certainly could not get me to argue over that one but on some levels it like "I'm not so bad, look at them".

This whole conversation is about what humans want for the environment not what the environment would have wanted for itself. I certainly include myself.

People are still in denial. So far no one has mentioned the losses of our wild agricultural plants/crop varieties due to replacement by cultivars. As a result, genetic diversity is dramatically lower.

http://www.fao.org/do...­

David

Lisa F.
lisa.f.organizer
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,170
I think the most important message for me is a reminder that there is alot of grey area here and the native vs. invasive debate frames things as if they were black and white, evil vs. good, etc. It's just not that simple.

It's unfortunate that Sue Reed was heckled by someone claiming to be a permaculturist and that she is painting all of us with the same brush. There are as many views on this in the permaculture community as there are in the world at large. Permaculture is a design methodology; some people will use non-native plants and animals and some won't. There is no one monolithic "permaculture belief system" and never has been.
zengeos
zengeos
Gorham, ME
Post #: 573
Exactly, Lisa. The general philosophy being in a way, to have a positive impact on the environment around us by increasing the varieties of plants for both people AND wildlife. I can certainly say that here, the numbers of bird varieties, for instance has increased dramatically, from the predominance of blackbirds just a few years ago.

There really is no *perfect harmony* with nature that I can determine, but there are many ways we can have a more positive impact on nature and our interactions with our local environs, and that is what it's about. You may determine that ONLY *native* plants will be used in your permaculture design, while Joe down the road wants to use more *exotic* plants like sea buckthorn, and honeyberry. Neither is 100% right or wrong, but each might be just right for the person making the choice for themselves.

Derek L.
user 14490127
Portland, ME
Post #: 16
I wasn't going to post anything on this because I am certainly under-educated on these issues ... but I have to chime in and agree with Lisa.

What I got from the article had nothing to do with invasive species. What I see is the beginning of the struggle for permaculture to remain a philosophy and preventing it from becoming a religion!

Some of the things that attract me to the permaculture idea(s) is that there is no dogma, everyone is on a level playing filed (inclusivity), and a purity of practice base on ideal principles - thus far seeming so pragmatic.

But - when someone starts the "us vs. them" or "we are more smarterer than you because we are permaculturists" then all the problems of patriotism, dogma and religion start to crystalize

David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 882
It really isn't an us versus them issue unless it's an ideology that a group needs to own. Other than that, individuals can do what they want.

Regarding whether native is better than non native for our environment, native has a lot more science on it's side. Co-evolution is what it is.

Increasing the number of species in the environment isn't necessarily a good idea at all. It may be OK in your yard but not in the environment. Plants that have not co-evolved have to displace something. They may not have associated species such as insects that can use their biomass for nutrition. Less insects. Birds may eat these insects. Less birds. etc.

Sue Reed, in the article below quotes author Douglas Tallamy

“You can be indifferent about non-natives only if you don’t understand, and even love, the complexity and necessity of the ecosystems being displaced.”

http://nativeplantwil...­

David Spahr
jon h.
user 18342491
Portland, ME
Post #: 4
Maybe its about balance. Every time you plant a non-native, plant a native next to it. Things often get chaotic for me in my life when I choose an extreme direction over its opposite extreme direction. So maybe this dilemma can be thought about as balancing our use of non-natives by making sure to cultivate our native species as well.

also, Im wondering about this:
As far as evolution goes; would nature keep an area strictly native plants that have been there for awhile?
What I mean is if humans did nothing, neither introduced non-natives nor cultivated natives, what would nature do? I would imagine there would be evolution, ie: natives would evolve and become something different?

And what about the natural spreading of species from an area to another. Doesn't that happen without human intervention?

I guess like Lisa said, this is quite the grey area, lots to be observed and researched.
Powered by mvnForum

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy