It has been estimated that for about 30% of the non-native invasive plants
a host specific bio-control can be found with extremely careful research
that will work to control the invasive plant to a useful extent. We need to
advocate funding the research. I support bio-controls for highly invasive
plants, but only if the research is done extremely well. Cheers
Oops! My bad--transposition (over-reliance on spell-checkers is a bad
idea). My apologies to Dr. Lair, and my thanks to Gary for his correction.
Page's point ("I believe that given enough time and circumstance all
biology will adapt to perpetuate the species and we may see them migrate to
some other native plants. However does it not seem reasonable that they
will not have any greater effect on a chosen native host than they will on
the introduced host.") is well-taken. He may not "have any authority," but
he makes more sense than a lot of "authorities" I have read and heard talk.
I would like to hear more of Page's ideas about the influence of colonizing
species' causing a trend toward homogeneity rather than heterogeneity
(which I might have said before reading this by Page).
Money should not drive science, but we all know it does and, to some
extent, always has. But the issue is, HOW MUCH should money drive science?
It seems to me that there has been an exponential increase over the last
PS: The sooner we get away from the tendency of a scientific priesthood,
hierarchy, and authoritarianism, the better off science will be. Page is a
shining example of how "lesser" beings can make major contributions. As a
fellow lesser-being, I raise my (beer, or course) glass in his honor.
BTW, I think there are other more effective ways to approach things like
alien invasions, and Tamarix spp. in particular.
----- Original Message -----
From: Gary Page
To: Wayne Tyson
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:18 AM
I have been enjoying the discussion concerning Salt cedar leaf
beetles. Others may have mentioned this, but in your comments within Dr.
Lair's response you misspelled his name as Dr. Liar.
We have Tamarisk here in far Eastern Oregon and have the introduced
beetle as well. It has shown great promise so far with large areas
defoliated for two or more years successive. I know that many in the
community are queasy about the introduction of insects. I believe that
given enough time and circumstance all biology will adapt to perpetuate the
species and we may see them migrate to some other native plants. However
does it not seem reasonable that they will not have any greater effect on a
chosen native host than they will on the introduced host. Given the budget
situation, which is always pitifully inadequate no matter the state of the
economy as well as the state of our present technology, so called
biocontrol seems our best hope to slow the expansion of introduced plants.
I am not a scientist so perhaps have no authority to speak on these
matters. I do think that from natural progression there would be some
degree of homogeneity across the planet both in flora and fauna, however
humans have greatly increased that rate of change. I think that obligates
us to make ever effort to reduce that impact. Biocontrol selections are
becoming increasingly scrutinized because of concerns to native species. It
is curious that what prompted USDA APHIS to get involved in this whole
issue was the opposition of farm commodity groups that were worried that
introduced insects would cause damage and expense. Now the concern has
shifted to native ecology concerns and both groups have valid reasons to
question the science. I guess that I was unaware that the folks working on
with these insects and pathogens were not communicating their research
outside their community. I think you may find this common among many
scientific disciplines and it is left to the interested individual to seek
out the information. Anyway, thanks for hosting all the interesting
Malheur County Weed Inspector