An article in the latest New Scientist, a well-reputed science magazine suggests that misguided nativism is doing more harm than good, in particular by misusing resources. Titled “Living with Aliens” in the print edition, and “Immigrant species aren’t all bad” on line, the article discusses the extreme stance taken by Nativists.
Professor Mark Davis points out that (a) most immigrant species are harmless; (b) with global trade and travel, a globalised biosphere is inevitable; and (c) unless a species is clearly identified as harmful, investing huge amounts to eradicate it is wasting resources urgently needed elsewhere.
Excerpt (emphasis added):
“Philosophers, social scientists and some invasion biologists have challenged the choice of language used to describe non-native species and have argued that conclusions about them sometimes rest more on prejudice than science. Others have criticised the preference for native species as scientifically unsound, arguing that invasive species do not represent a separate category, evolutionarily, biogeographically or ecologically. Others have pointed out flaws in the claim that non-native species are the second-greatest extinction threat after habitat destruction. In fact, with the exception of insular environments such as islands and lakes, there are very few examples of extinctions being caused by non-native species.
“Despite this more nuanced approach, many of my invasion biologist colleagues are reluctant to discard the nativism paradigm. Some have told me that “message enhancement” is a necessary strategy when dealing with the public and policy-makers, in order to get their attention.”
Message enhancement? a.k.a…. Exaggeration?