Re: CP fieldtrip ruminations

Liane Cochran-Stafira (
Wed, 18 Oct 1995 14:12:50 -0500

On Wed, 18 Oct 1995, Barry Meyers-Rice wrote:
> In a previous posting, I described a few wetlands I visited in the US
> gulf coast and Southeastern piedmont. Preparing for this trip and travelling
> through these locations was disheartening. Many people asked me to collect
> plants for them---but even though I told them I was visiting almost
> exclusively Nature Conservancy Preserves or valuable protected sites, many
> (but not all) persisted. Furthermore, the places that are well known by
> CPers often showed symptoms of collection, while places not publicized had
> more plants, and fewer indications of abuse.

Barry - It seems like the problem of taking wild specimens is a tough one
in many of the plant and animal "hobbies". I wonder how many people stop
and think about where those tropical fish or exotic birds in the pet stores
came from - wild-caught or captive-bred. Old habits can be hard to change
in some people, but maybe with more efforts at educating new comers to cps
and other critters we can put a stop to this business and make them
responsible enthusiasts. It's sort of like Garrett Hardin's message in the
"Tragedy of the Commons". Oh - I'm just gonna take one specimen, nobody
will even notice. Unfortunately, when a lot of people have the same
attitude, lots of specimens are removed and the "common property"

>On Wed, 18 Oct 1995, Wayne Forrester wrote:

> Someone else recently posted a discussion of naturalized plants
>that I must concur with. I remember reading an article in the CP
>Newsletter a few years ago describing planting a number of non-native CP
>in some bog somewhere in NOrthern California or Oregon. I feel that this
>can be as damaging as collecting plants from the wild, because it is
>possible taht such plants can displace native plants. Worse, such plants
>could spread to other bogs. Once a non-native plant becomes widely
>established, it's essentially impossible to eliminate.


I couldn't agree more strongly. The introduction of non-native species of
plants (and animals) can destroy entire ecosystems as well as threaten
individual species. There are countless examples of introduced plants in
this country (and elswhere) that are eliminating native species. In the
southern U.S. of course there's the infamous kudzu, originally introduced
to help slow erosion. Anyone who has visited wetland areas in the midwest
knows about the constant threat of glossy buckthorn and purple loosestrife
in these ecosystems. Barry probably remembers seeing loads of buckthorn at
Volo Bog where it's choking out the native bog vegetation. Even one of the
most abundant "prairie" species around here, queen Anne's lace, is a
foreigner. It's one thing to naturalize species on your land if they are
native to your area, it's a whole different ballgame to bring in plants
from someplace else and turn them loose. Looking through some of my
gardening catalogues gets me to wondering about all those plants listed
"ideal for naturalizing". Hmmm...

Now I'll get off my soapbox and back to work,
Liane Cochran-Stafira