AN ARGUMENT FOR ALIEN PLANTS. We have been walking to Long Island Sound again. I have posted, for example here, about the pleasure we take on our walks from phragmites—tall reeds, faded to brown with feathery brown tops. I acknowledged in that post that the pleasure was something of a guilty pleasure because our phragmites are thought to be an invasive species.

This article in the Economist (March 28) argued that invasive plant species are not a problem for other species, in contrast with invasive animal species, which can be a problem for other species. The article relies on an analysis of a survey of British wildlife. The researchers defined “native plants” as species that had been present in Britain “from time immemorial”—that is, since the end of the last Ice Age. The analysis found that all 50 of the most wide-spread species were native. The conclusion is that successful species are capable of holding their own against invasive species—even over a very long period of time.

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