Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Exotic Earthworm Invasion

Forests Under Threat from Exotic Earthworm Invasion: Study Shows Humans to Blame for Spread of Non-Native Species an article in Science Daily reports on information reported in an article from Human Ecology. Both articles are very interesting and worth reading. Unfortunately it really does not come as a surprise that humans are the culprits in the importation and spread of non-native, invasive or potentially invasive species. We are continually looking for a better, easier way to do things. This is one of those human qualities which has a good side and a bad side. We have learned that we need to be much more cautious when introducing something non-native to the ecosystems we live in and are a part of. These non-native species are living organisms that do not recognize our man made boundaries. They don't stop at the fence in our backyard or at county, state or national boundaries. Each and every one of us can help to stop the introduction and spread of invasive species by starting with informed, responsible stewardship of our own little piece of America, however large or small that may be. Fruit from an invasive plant grown in a container on an apartment balcony can be spread for many miles by wildlife eating that fruit. Most states have an Exotic or Invasive Species Council. Join your local council and ask for ways you can help and for a list of non-invasive alternatives for landscaping. For Georgia go to GA-EPPC.org

Forest floor before non-native earthworm invasion is rich in organic material
photo by Robert Lee, Bugwood.org

Forest floor after non-native earthworm invasion. Orgainc material is gone.
Photo by Robert Lee, Bugwood.org