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RE: Re: ferns DIGEST V1 #15

  • Subject: RE: [ferns] Re: ferns DIGEST V1 #15
  • From: "Rufino Osorio" <rufinofl@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2004 10:40:51 -0500

Osmundas as invaders is a difficult idea for me.

Hi Scott,

In logic, the argument that something is difficult to imagine is known as the argument from personal incredulity. Such an argument is considered invalid. For example, 2000 years ago, the notion that the earth was a round globe was an extremely difficult idea for most people but that didn't make it false. Likewise, many plants, even ecologically conservative plants that may be rare or even endangered in their natural range, can become invasive pests in new environments where they are released from the diseases, herbivores, parasites, and other ecologic constraints that may have kept them in check in their natural range. A case in point is Pinus radiata, a vanishing relict from a time when the American west was more moist. It's natural range is limited to a few colonies on the Pacific coast of California and the view is that it is a species that was in the process of going extinct. In the southern hemisphere, including South Africa and New Zealand, it is a green cancer that overruns thousands of square acres of natural habitat and it outcompetes and eliminates nearly all native plants that stand in its path. Some plants in Florida, such as torpedo grass and wedelia, are horrendous weedy pest plants even though both species are known from single, self-sterile clones and there is no record of either plant ever having set a single viable seed in Florida. There are now several good books out describing the problems of biological pollutants (biological pollutants = ecologically disruptive and invasive pest organisms). Just as almost no one balks at the idea that the earch is a round globe, the more you learn about biological pollutants, the less difficult the idea of osmundas as pest plants will seem.

Kind regards,
Rufino Osorio
Palm Beach County, Florida

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