Since the beginning of time, species have spread and contracted their ranges.
A variety of factors including weather and climate influenced their spread and movement. Arguably, one of the most important modern factors is human influence.
As humans became more mobile, as our trade routes expanded, as our practices changed the landscape, we influenced and likely escalated species spread. For instance, the exploration of North America prompted the introduction of hogs and the reintroduction of horses.
With the passage of time and the improvement of transportation, the world has shrunk, at least metaphorically. More people criss-crossing a smaller planet for a variety of purposes created more opportunities for species to establish themselves outside their traditional ranges.
Sometimes, as with the case of rapidly spreading kudzu, someone deliberately introduced it. Kudzu, with its almost exponential growth rate, was originally touted as potential solution for erosion and a godsend for landscaping. Saltcedar choking desert waterways followed a similar path. Imported red fire ants hitched a ride on a ship and landed in Florida. The anaconda population in Florida Everglades, is thought to have originated at least in part by pet owners who tired of the big reptiles and released them into the wild.
As a whole, the species have done what successful species do—exploit and claim their niche in suitable habitat. In the absence of disease and predators, they are often unchecked.
People faced with an ecosystem that seems to be tipping out of balance have done what people do. They’ve labeled the problem, in this case “invasive species.” By its original definition, an invasive species also known as an introduced species, is a species that is not native to a specific location, and that has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health. The definition has expanded to include any species that has spread anywhere someone may not like it to be.
Faced with a system that appears to be out of balance, humans have identified introduced species as invasive enemies. Armed with poison, guns, traps and any other means necessary, humans have gone to war against the invaders.
In the course of waging war, the soldiers ignore the inherent difficulty in identifying what is native. For instance, the ancestors of Equus ferus (modern horses) evolved in North America and radiated to Eurasia before becoming locally extinct. In 1493, the horse returned to North America with the explorers. This equine globe hopping raises the question: Are horses native or exotic to the continent of their evolutionary ancestors?
But instead of recognizing inherent flaws in logic and approach, the soldiers, be they researchers, regulators, managers or owners, choose to apply a single, focused solution to a complicated problem. An all-out attempt to destroy the invaders only rewards big businesses that produce the “tools of war” and throws the system further out of balance.
As proponents of biodiversity, we believe that all species, even those that are new to an area, can play a role in a healthy ecosystem. The quest is discovering the benefits of the additions and managing them so they don’t overwhelm any other part of the local system.
Read more about holistic management practices
Functional Traits – Not Nativenes – Shape the Effects Of Large Mammalian Herbivores on Plant Communities
For decades the assumption shared by conservation dogma and Invasive Species “Biology” has been that non-native animals – by definition – harm native habitat and plants. This belief is often used to justify the ongoing […]
This video was created by Wild Horse Fire Brigade, a non-profit dedicated to expanding wild horse populations in order to reduce fire hazard on public lands. They challenge viewers with this question: “Do you want […]
Presented below is a scholarly article on the issue of whether so-called invasive ‘exotic’ species like feral pigs, goats, buffalo, and horses, are by definition harmful to environments in which they did not evolve, or […]
Farming Sustainably with Regenerative Agriculture | Restoring Paradise
Regenerative agriculture offers a future for sustainable farming of meat in line with nature’s needs, by using holistic management and organic/biodynamic practices and even sequestering carbon in the soil – so important in our response […]
Lake trout, native to the Great Lakes and the boreal lakes of Canada and Alaska, were first “discovered” in Yellowstone Lake in 1994. Their appearance was likely the result of introduction from nearby Lewis or […]
Drought Busters 101 : A 21-Minute Video on Desert Grassland Restoration
“Drought Busters” is an inexpensive, quick, physiologically and economically sustainable method of habitat and wildlife restoration. We call it Drought Busters because it increases effective rainfall by rebuilding soil fertility and the soil’s ability to […]
This is a 4-1/2 minute video about the “Plug-and-Spread” method of harvesting water from gullies. Water harvesting including Plug and Spread, in combination with Keyline sub-soiling, wild animal impact and planned grazing of cattle are […]
At the Foot of a Melting Glacier in Peru, Llamas Helped Revitalize the Land
Llamas are camelids, the family of animals that also includes Bactrian and Dromedary camels, vicunas, alpacas and guanacos. These animals evolved in North America. Llamas and their ancestors were present in North America for 40 […]
According to the paper and article below, horses – which evolved in North America – traveled back and forth across the land bridge between present day Russia and Alaska several times over the last million […]
NOTE: this post was originally published to this site on February 6th, 2017 The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) say aoudad harm desert mule deer, pronghorn and desert […]
Desperate to Rid Catalina of Invasive Deer, Officials Propose Bold Helicopter Hunt
It’s hard to name a single wildlife “management” practice pursued by the big conservation bureaucracies that does not involve the wholesale killing out of entire wildlife populations. Their glaring management failures are blamed on climate […]
Healing the Land with One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts
Healing the Land with One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts” is an inspirational short film that discusses regenerative agricultural practices on a Georgia farm. This dying farm was regenerated using multi-species grazing in which all […]
Predators including wolves can cull weak or sick deer, elk and caribou much better than any wildlife “manager”. This makes predators the best means of removing CWD-infected animals from our wild herds.
Texas Testing New Feral Hog Poison in Race to Control Invasive Species
The widespread use of herbicides and pesticides (poisons) for wildlife “management” goes back to at least 1835 with the invention of strychnine. For about 180 years now, wolves, coyotes, foxes, badgers, cougar, bear, bobcats, […]
We call the combination of wild animals, planned grazing, water harvesting, and Keyline subsoiling “Drought Busters”. Drought Busters is cheap, fast, poisons no plants, kills no animals, and increases the numbers and diversity of both. […]
Examples of Grassland Restoration – Allan Savory – Tufts University
Excerpted from Allan Savory’s presentation on January 25, 2013 at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, this segment highlights examples of how Holistic Management restores grasslands from land that’s degraded to desert. This innovative, natural, and simple […]
The polite and restrained movie appearing below is not anti-hunting. In fact, it should be mandatory viewing for all hunters and wildlife lovers. While most of the contests target predators, each shot fired damages […]
One Creature Changed the Countryside and Our Lives More Than Any Other. Meet the Horses That Built Britain
As discussed in the article below, horses evolved in the Americas, and crossed to Europe and Asia during previous ice ages. Domestic horses are central to human civilizations – including those of North America. […]