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Become familiar with invasive species
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 4/20/2010 12:01 AM

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Day by day the world is getting smaller, shrinking due to improvements in transportation and communications. Global economics rule the marketplace. Uncounted benefits accrue from advancements in technology and accompanying lifestyle changes; however, increased travel and commerce have negative consequences as well.

The earth's ecosystems have lost the protection afforded them by the comparative isolation they once enjoyed. Lakes, rivers, oceans no longer provide barriers to guard close-knit plant and animal associations from invasive foreign species.

There is nothing inherently wrong with exotic species. The natural world safely includes many alien plants. Gardeners admire tulips, daffodils, and peonies, nonnative flowers that are beautiful and well-behaved.

However, many exotic species are insidious bullies. Through accident or human ignorance, exotic species introduced to the landscape become invasive and destructive in yards and escape into our few remaining natural areas.

Alien woody shrubs like common buckthorn and Tartarian honeysuckle have invaded woodlands and yards destroying understory plants and bird habitat. Purple loosestrife, the colorful beauty of local wetlands, is deadly to the native plants and animals it displaces. Another prolific alien replacing woodland wildflowers is garlic mustard. The list goes on and on: reed canary grass, yellow and white sweet clover, Canada thistle, teasel. All destroy natural ecosystems and cause problems for homeowners.

The abundance of these green aliens underscores their aggressive nature. Invasive alien species are everywhere, enveloping the native landscape, shading and suffocating it.

Please notice. Be aware of nature around you and your home since public awareness is a first step toward controlling invasive plants and animals. Citizens for Conservation (CFC) has long battled invasive alien species in the Barrington area. Working together, CFC, residents, and public agencies can extricate natural communities from the bondage of exotic plants; but we must observe, and we must care.

Meredith Tucker


President Citizens for Conservation, Barrington