Someone sent me a link to a thoughtful article in Slate magazine called “Don’t Sweat the Invasion” by
The author starts out with the example of tamarisk, also known as salt-cedar; it’s an “exotic invasive” that spreads along river-banks, and provides habitat for various birds. One of these is an endangered flycatcher.
Ironically, nativist thinking has encouraged the USDA to use imported (exotic, but who-knows-if-they’re-invasive) Asian leaf-eating beetles to kill the tamarisks by eating them to death. Theoretically, this allows native flora to return. Maybe. Anyway, in the interim, the nesting birds are straight out of luck. In March 2009, this led to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon society.
The article uses this event as a springboard to look at the whole issue of nativist restorationism, and make some sensible observations.
“There’s an argument that even the dichotomy between “native” and “non-native” is ultimately meaningless. Species have always migrated; to identify one as native is to draw an arbitrary line in time.”
And something that’s particularly relevant to Sutro Forest:
“Once an ecosystem has absorbed a new species, any targeted intervention is likely to have significant ripple effects.”
Exactly. This forest has altered the microclimate, provided a habitat for birds and animals. This is what gutting the forest will destroy.
And frankly, it probably has as much bio-diversity as the iconic Muir Woods. Just because the “bio” comes with descriptors like Tasmanian, Himalayan, English, Scotch doesn’t reduce the numbers or the diversity.