Invasive species are everywhere, from forests and prairies to mountaintops and river mouths. Their rampant nature and sheer numbers appear to overtake fragile native species and forever change the ecosystems that they depend on. Concerns that invasive species represent significant threats to global biodiversity and ecological integrity permeate conversations from schoolrooms to board rooms, and concerned citizens grapple with how to rapidly and efficiently manage their populations. These worries have culminated in an ongoing “war on invasive species,” where the arsenal is stocked with bulldozers, chainsaws, and herbicides put to the task of their immediate eradication. In Hawaii, mangrove trees (Avicennia spp.) are sprayed with glyphosate and left to decompose on the sandy shorelines where they grow, and in Washington, helicopters apply the herbicide Imazapyr to smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) growing in estuaries. The “war on invasive species” is in full swing, but given the scope of such potentially dangerous and ecologically degrading eradication practices, it is necessary to question the very nature of the battle.
Beyond the War on Invasive Species demonstrates that there is more to the story of invasive species than is commonly conceived, and offers ways of understanding their presence and ecosystem effects in order to make more ecologically responsible choices in land restoration and biodiversity conservation that address the root of the invasion phenomenon. The choices we make on a daily basis – the ways we procure food, shelter, water, medicine, and transportation – are the major drivers of contemporary changes in ecosystem structure and function; therefore, deep and long-lasting ecological restoration outcomes will come not just from eliminating invasive species, but through conscientious redesign of these production systems.
Chelsea Green Publishing
272 pages, B&W.
Tao Orion is a permaculture designer, teacher, homesteader, and mother living in the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon. She teaches permaculture design at Oregon State University and at Aprovecho, a 40-acre nonprofit sustainable-living educational organization. Tao consults on holistic farm, forest, and restoration planning through Resilience Permaculture Design, LLC.
She holds a degree in agroecology and sustainable agriculture from UC Santa Cruz, and her interest in restoration was piqued when studying botany, wildcrafting, and herbalism at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Oregon. She has a keen interest in integrating the disciplines of organic agriculture, sustainable land-use planning, ethnobotany, and ecosystem restoration in order to create beneficial social, economic, and ecological outcomes. When she is not writing, she is busy keeping up with her toddler and wrangling a diverse array of plants and animals on her 6.5-acre homestead, Viriditas Farm.