Wild Ones   The Grapevine - July-August 2005  
By Maryann Whitman

Grape vine.Protests of Roadside Spraying

Marilyn Logue, president of the Columbus (OH) Chapter tells us that residents of Ohio are writing letters to the Ohio Department of Transportation requesting that ODOT consider using brush cutters along state routes to control brush growth for highway safety. ODOT has been using a herbicide containing triethylamine to control brush growth. The herbicide has been ranked by Environmental Defense as one of the most hazardous compounds (worst 10%) to ecosystems and human health.

It’s a Small World

In our concern about, and battle with, invasive species we tend to think in terms of our own back yards, local natural areas, and possibly our local ecoregions. It’s jarring to think that every other country on the planet, at some level, is experiencing the profound negative effects of invasive species. Lake Victoria in central Africa, the second largest fresh water lake on the planet, is being choked by purple hyacinth, just as are canals in Florida.

In 2004 the Global Invasive Species Information Network (GISIN) was formed so that standardized information about invasive species could be shared worldwide. GISIN will be coordinated with Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) which also has portals in countries all over the world. With species fact sheets, images, maps, and identification tools, GISIN can help in modeling and forecasting the spread of invasives by answering basic questions about those species’ names, home ranges, biology, pathways, and management. “For GISIN to germinate and bear fruit we need broad collaboration through strong partnerships with many other global, regional, and national organizations. We cannot limit our partnerships to invasive species organizations. Since all invasives are native somewhere, it is essential to compile basic species information from where a species naturally occurs so that we can find methods (biological, chemical, and mechanical) to control it where it is invasive.” So says Annie Simpson of the U.S. Geological Survey, and chair of GISIN’s interim steering committee. (from (July) 2004. BioScience 54 (7):613-614).

Thoughts On Ecoscaping
Somewhere between a prairie and a formal planting lies the fertile potential of native plants in an ornamental design, the domain of the Ecoscaper – which is a brilliant synthesis in language of the two concepts, landscaper and ecologist. Getting the name right is the first step in defining and shaping an understanding of what you want to accomplish.
Lonnie Morris – Greater DuPage (IL) Chapter,
a participant in the Ecoscaper Program.

An Old Word in a New Context

Hysteresis represents the history dependence of physical systems. If you push on something, it will yield: when you release, does it spring back completely? If it doesn’t, it is exhibiting hysteresis, in some broad sense. Applied to ecological restoration, the concept of hysteresis suggests that reversing a disturbance process will not necessarily reinstate an intact ecosystem. This idea, given the inkling that we have of the complexity of functioning ecosystems, seems self evident, but it’s nice to have another word to account for failure.

Maryann is Editor of the Wild Ones Journal, and comes to the position with an extensive background in environmental matters of all kinds.

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Updated: Oct 27, 2006.