Invasive Species

Summer, a time of fun and games out in wonderful nature.....
But is there something sinister in this picture?

Note the lack of sky in the background.  That whole lot behind our house was filled with Buckthorn.  It took us 3 years to completely clear the buckthorn and have it poisoned.  

Buckthorn is an invasive species; it was first brought to Minnesota from Europe in the mid-1800s as a very popular hedging material. Shortly after its introduction here, it was found to be invasive … very invasive.

Buckthorn is shallow growing and quick growing. It takes over an area and chokes out other plants.  Not long after I bought my house, the city told me I needed to remove the buckthorn.

Buckthorn is an alternate host for oat crown rust, which can cause 10-40% oat crop loss in heavily infected areas and total crop failure in individual fields, and is also a wintering host for the soybean aphid, itself an invasive species from China that first appeared in the U.S. in 2000. Aphid-related soybean crop losses and treatment costs in Minnesota alone are estimated at $200 million per year.

Buckthorn is just one example of an invasive plant species, however, there are many animal invasive species as well.  Australia, due to its isolated nature, had some of the most unique creatures on Earth since nothing could migrate in or out.

Here is a link to some invasive species that have come to Australia: click here.

Let's look at some verses from Psalms 104:1, 10-14, 16-22, 24-25, 27

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
He sends forth springs in the valleys;
They flow between the mountains;
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;
They lift up their voices among the branches.
He waters the mountains from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.
The high mountains are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the small animals.
He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.
You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
When the sun rises they withdraw
And lie down in their dens.
O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.

This shows us the beautiful balance that God, in his wisdom, set up for animals in the proper environments.

To end similarly to where we started... the Asian lady beetle was introduced to the U.S. in 1916 as a bio control for native aphids (living in buckthorn), and the beetle has been shown to be an effective predator of the soybean aphid as well… just not in the US.  Unfortunately man wasn't too smart in releasing them.  Taking them out of their native habitat, they also became invasive, killing off native ladybugs and causing loss to fruit plants, not to mention being a pest indoors and outside. 

What is the Asian lady beetle not doing?  It doesn't eat the aphids!!!

It just shows how complex environments are, and the importance of respecting the environments that God set up for us in his wisdom.

© Vivian P. Kirkpatrick, 2016