Unintentional Destruction Caused by People . . .

The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago… had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands. ~ Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923

“Who would throw their bag up in that tree?” That is what I thought as I sped down the gravel road trying to get to work on time (a cloud of thick dust behind me). A little bit further down the road and around a corner, I saw another one. Hmmm…. very strange. On my way home (at a much slower, relaxing speed with less dust) I took the time to stop and see exactly what it was.

The notice posted on the tree explained it all. It is an attempt to protect our Minnesota Forests from an invasive species. Invasive species are non-native plants, animals and pathogens that thrive in a new environment causing environmental damage, in some cases harm human health, and of course economic loss.

These blue bags are an attempt to Save our Ash Trees. The emerald ash bore is killing off the ash trees in the midwest. It has already spread across Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and has moved to southern Minnesota. Although it is a very weak flyer, it is a massively destructive creature as it kills off all of the ash trees in an area quickly. It has not been found in my northern area, yet … but it is on its way. Even with all the scientific research, attempts to stop it and warn the public on ways to help stop it, it is still coming. The insect is spreading quickly mainly by hitching a ride inside firewood transported by people.

The Emerald Ash Bore is only one of many invasive species threatening to destroy parts of our Northwoods. This Spring right before the “Fishing Opener” (a big deal in this State of over 10,000 lakes) the radio and television were swamped with warnings, tips on how to protect our lakes and forests, new mandated stickers for boats that spell out exactly how to clean them when you leave the lake, Because you see … once again, humans are the major cause of the spread of these destructive species. Simple things like moving a boat from one lake to another without cleaning it off is spreading these destructive plants and creatures (ie: Zebra Mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil).

There are numerous invasive species destroying our natural world here in the United States. The list is very scary, reading it made me feel like I was living in an “Aliens are Destroying Our Planet” movie. The sad thing is that we, humans, are destroying it all by ourselves in so many ways. Two good sites with information on all of the invasive species found here are: Invasive Species in Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

If invasive species are not stopped, our natural world will be forever changed … and not for the better. I wonder who thought purposefully bringing in these new species to the area in the first place was a good idea? We quarantine most entries of plants, animals and produce to the country … why were these invited in without looking at the consequences, first? Why do we continue to spread them to new locations so easily knowing how harmful they can be.

People blame the plant or creature for destroying our trees and lake life … but, the real blame needs to go to the people who thought it was a good idea to bring them here in the first place and to those who casually spread them to new areas without thinking or out of laziness.

The human race will be the cancer of the planet. ~Julian Huxley

On a happier note (less doom and destruction), check out my photo blog for some pictures of my northern Minnesota Spring (before it is totally destroyed by invasive species – sarcasm – Hopefully, we can turn things around and save our trees and lakes in time)

~ by bearyweather on May 31, 2012.

10 Responses to “Unintentional Destruction Caused by People . . .”

  1. There is a park I like to visit here in Ohio that has a section of trees that have been attacked by this creature…there are signs I see posted about not transporting firewood. For a very good reason! 😦

    • I hope people stop transporting firewood. When I was growing up in St. Paul, the suburban roads were all planted in elms. In the summer time it was like driving in a tunnel of shady leaves … Dutch Elm disease killed them all and forever changed the landscape and beauty of those streets. Will we never learn?

  2. When I first saw those last year (Virginia) I was perplexed until the hubby told me what they were.

  3. We don’t have the issue with the ash here, but we are fighting the mussels and milfoil. We have also had our trout fishery badly damage because someone in the past illegally planted northern pike in some of our streams and they are a major predator of the trout.

    • It is amazing how small, uneducated actions by humans can forever change our environment. The intentional things we do that cause destruction of our natural world is another topic. I wonder what it will take for us to stop these harmful behaviors … ?

  4. We’ve got those purple bags around here, too, bearyweather! When I first started reading your post, I didn’t realize that these were the same purple thingees. There is one at the end of our road–at least one was there last year. Same identifying sign. I was going to do a blog about it at one time, but didn’t. Glad that you did!

  5. We’re losing our ash trees here (as you noted), and see lots of those blue bags in the trees that are left. Sometimes those invasive species just hitch a ride. Sometimes they are purposely brought in. I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the invasive plants, such as the Canada thistle. It’s still considered an invasive species even though it has been in North America since the early 1700s (brought over accidentally, I think). We have some in our wildflower meadow, probably brought there by the goldfinches who love it. Because they love it, I’ve been reluctant to try to do something to remove it (although I’ve read trying to eradicate it causes the plant to toughen up and grow more).

    I also thought about invasive and introduced species when we were in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Moose had disappeared in Cape Breton by 1924, wiped out by hunting and destruction of habitat. In the 1940s, the Canada park service introduced 18 moose from another island. There are no wolves there to prey on the moose and keep down the population. The introduced moose did well, especially after an outbreak of spruce budworm which killed off about 87% of the balsam fir trees. White birch trees sprung up to fill in for the fir trees. Birch trees are more palatable to the moose who thrived on them and their population exploded. Now the entire ecosystem is being changed by the introduced moose who graze heavily on some plants and not on others. This behavior is changing the composition of the Boreal forest. Reading about this on one of the trailheads in the Cape Breton highlands, I was reminded of a story I heard on NPR about the reintroduction of the white-tailed deer in Maryland, and how the population explosion there (again, no predators to keep down population growth) has caused changes to the ecosystem, and now the park service is scratching its head (so to speak), trying to figure out what to do.

    It seems like whenever man decides to interfere with nature in some way, everything ends up out of balance.

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