Front Porch Blog

Your Enemy’s Enemy May Not Be Your Friend

[Georgia] When a non-native plant appears on the scene, resource managers sometimes suggest introducing one of the non-native plant’s non-native predators to control it. New research by John D. Parker of the Georgia Institute of Technology, however, suggests this may not be the wisest course of action. In a review of 63 studies of the effects of native and non-native vertebrate herbivores on exotic plant invasions, Parker and his colleagues discovered that native herbivores are much more likely to suppress exotics, while introduced herbivores may even facilitate exotic plant invasions. Indeed, according to Parker, bringing in exotic predators to control exotic plants may actually facilitate the establishment and spread of even more exotic plants, because exotic predators, too, are interested in fresh fare: they indulge in the novel taste of native plants that have no natural defenses, thus opening habitat for even more exotic opportunists.

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





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