Invasive versus Native Question

Discussions and news related to invasive and exotic species affecting our trees and forests.

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Joe

Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Joe » Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:58 am

Bart Bouricius wrote:Don,

What about Monsanto's GMO's, I think not.
Right- those are frankinfoods. And likewise, there are frankintrees.
Joe

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Don
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Don » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:44 pm

Bart-
Before retirement from Grand Canyon National Park, my role as Vegetation Program Manager included oversight of the prevention and eradication of invasives. We had an active volunteer program that focused entirely on invasives.
As to Monanto's GMO-ed plants, I totally concur, along the lines of we are what we eat.
But that said, I think there's much to be learned from Steve's quote, edited here to..."all non-GMO-ed plants were native somewhere"...pioneer species like quaking aspen and others act like invasives in that they are quick to dominate openings that have amenable environments for them. If it's a natural vector that introduces them, they'd be native, eh? Is it the means of introduction the defining difference?
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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Joe

Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Joe » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:03 pm

The defining difference is that species from another ecosystem- introduced by whatever means to a different ecosystem- if and only if they interfere with native species to the extent the native species are significantly reduced in numbers or eradicated- possibly setting off a chain reaction as that loss may effect other species. Of course the "damage" done by invasive species is merely a human value system. In some respects, I'd say the only real invasive species is humans- clearly the most disruptive species of all time- the ultimate effect of which is yet to be determined.
Joe

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Lucas
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Lucas » Mon Feb 22, 2016 8:28 pm

http://lists.psu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A1=ind1 ... CF-GROWERS

Speaking of GMO trees, the normally comatose TACF forum has gone nuts posting about GMO American Chestnuts this month.
We travel the Milky way together, trees and men. - John Muir

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Don
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Don » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:57 pm

Do we have problems with Luther Burbank and his extensive experimentation with hybridizing?
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

Joe

Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Joe » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:54 am

Lucas wrote:http://lists.psu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A1=ind1 ... CF-GROWERS

Speaking of GMO trees, the normally comatose TACF forum has gone nuts posting about GMO American Chestnuts this month.
Lucas, without us reading through that site- can you give us a summary of the issue?
Joe

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Don
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Don » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:31 pm

Joe-
I read through a lot of them...a fairly well-mannered forum, most of whom talk over most of our heads, in deep genetic reaches...in twenty-five words or less, they acknowledge that they are relatively unsure of effects of GMO-ing trees down the road (as in beyond at least this generation). The fact that we don't eat them (fruit and nut trees excepted) makes it easier to have higher confidence levels (in statistical sense and personal comfort both). But the effect that they (GMO-ed chestnuts, for example) would have on any given ecosystem that they were introduced in, over time (several tree generations) is of course not fully known experimentally.
Alright, my twenty-five words is beyond over...and out!
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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mdavie
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by mdavie » Tue Feb 23, 2016 2:41 pm

Funny enough I was just reading again about the chestnuts, because I'm pretty excited by the prospect. From the SUNY-ESF site:

The blight resistant American chestnut trees are undergoing extensive field trials and ecological studies to ensure there are no non-target effects or harmful changes to the environment (example: D'Amico et al. 2014). With the help of several collaborators, we are evaluating potential impacts of transgenic chestnut on soil fungi, aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, other wildlife, persistence in the environment, tree growth rates, pollen flow, and surrounding plant communities. Even more ecological studies are being planned. These are being completed to prepare for Federal regulatory review by the USDA, EPA, and FDA. So far, all the data we've collected from these ecological studies indicates that transgenic chestnuts do not have any harmful effect on the environment, and that they are functionally no different than trees produced by traditional breeding. Our goal is to have these trees available to the public in approximately 5 years.

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by Erik Danielsen » Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:16 pm

As transgenic organisms go, I see little reason why anyone should expect negative consequences to these chestnuts. The potential for unforeseen consequences in simply adding a particular gene from a a closely related species that causes a minor chemical change that deters a certain fungus is vastly different than potential consequences of adding genes from bacteria to a widespread crop like corn that cause it to manufacture a powerful insecticide that makes its way into pollen that wind deposits on plant surfaces and in water that are used by a diversity of insects. It's worth examining whether any organisms dependent on american chestnut might be harmed by the change, but with american chestnut nearly gone from our forests, such organisms must be in short supply... and if they are harmed, they would be susceptible to harm from non-transgenic hybrids as well. I am glad that thorough testing is being carried out but I've seen some facebook rants about these transgenic chestnuts that just do not make sense- abstracting all transgenic organisms into a single category defined by fear.

I know some areas recovering from high-grading, good chestnut habitat with sprouts here and there, that could use some transgenic chestnuts. Of course, were I to plant some, we've come back to the subject of native vs. invasive species- the ecology there has been long enough without chestnut as a major component that its sudden presence would alter existing species relationships. I suppose that illustrates here, too, the futility of abstracting certain organisms into a category like "invasive." I do consider the proliferation of human-introduced species that crowd out or kill off members of existing ecosystems to be a negative thing in our current context- not because it is abstractly "bad" but because habitat fragmentation and the much more rapid rate of organism exchange by human vectors (not to mention other stresses like climate change and novel pollutants in our air and water) sets this context apart from what we know must have happened in the past, where interchanges of organisms into novel ecosystems certainly wrought serious changes but did so over much longer timescales. Biodiversity provides ecosystems with resilience, and reducing biodiversity too rapidly on too many fronts is something I worry can end up pushing the productivity of earth's higher life-forms, as a whole, very very hard. If we continue this slide into a disastrous mass extinction from which the biosphere will have to slowly recover, as has happened before in the fossil record, it certainly won't be japanese knotweed's fault. Maybe we can blame Norway Maple... but probably not.

wisconsitom
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Re: Invasive versus Native Question

Post by wisconsitom » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:36 pm

Brilliance right there, Erik! Norway maples indeed. Or is it garlic mustard? Put things in that context and it does tend to lessen the urgency to extinguish another outbreak!

Read today-maybe you guys have seen this-lodgepole pines from British Columbia did better in Scandinavian forests, and they tracked it back to mycorrhiza differences. A case where novelty boosts primary production. Who knows? Did seem to point to a greater presence of harmful soil organisms, as a function of time-as the original Canadian stand evolved, as one possibility for the finding.

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