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Introduction and Alteration

The introducing of a new species is an immense hazard to natural plants and wildlife. At times, there has been a viable excuse for such a dangerous action, but at others, there was none but sentimentality. Too frequently it has been done involuntarily and voluntarily throughout the ages and often with destructive effects.

The first to consider are birds. In 1890, European Starlings were first introduced in North America and were freed in New York city simply out of a wish to have some birds written of by Shakespeare in the new continent. Now, these starlings are everywhere in and they and the English Sparrows ( another introduced species ) are pushing our native tree-cavity nesting birds from potential nesting sites. Both of these can be immense pests. Another introduced bird is the Feral Pigeon but is not quite so destructive to native species as the others.

Gardeners may be frustrated with such weeds as the Common Dandelion, Canada Thistle, Sow thistle and Common Chickweed. But why do we rarely see these plants outside of the city? Why is it only in certain areas that they grow? The reason is that these invasive plants came from Europe and are not native to our land. The Common Plantain too hails from Europe.

Finally, in the animal kingdom of North America, there is the problematic Wild Boar. This fury pig will kill and eat native fawns as well as destroy farm fields with their great tramplings. Their young do not have the thick brown coat of the adults, but are striped instead. These pigs came from Germany and Russia for sports hunting and now have spread across our continent.

Now, I am not encouraging anyone to go and hunt down and slaughter these living beings in their unnatural habitats. No, indeed! That goes against my very grain. But with these examples, few among many, I wish to emphasize the importance of letting nature be and not altering it without due consideration and research. And even if it seems harmless now, it will most likely in some way or manner leave dire consequences for mankind and the world in the future. Thankfully, though, there are much stricter laws concerning the importation of foreign species, which are quite applaudable, and hopefully mankind has learned his lesson, even if it be in part.

Wild Lily-of-the-Valley

Maianthemum canadense

A native species

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Wednesday September 22, 2021