I think the observation is important. I am new enough in Aus to not be able
to contribute to an Aussie perspective with any depth. However, in my
native Southern California, I can point to many non-native plant
communities (both mixed and monoculture), and even contrived physical
habitats which are much more diverse and important to the health and
sustainability of both common as well as some desperately endangered
species than 90% of the surrounding relatively intact native habitat.
Of course, the most stunning example of contrived physical habitats is the
Salton Sea. Amazingly productive, diverse, and full of rare and endangered
birds...also completely contrived by humans. This is, to be sure, a grand
example, but an important one (and may be a special case for various
reasons, not the least of which is the geological history of the area). On
the strictly plant community side, I'll give one example. Oddly enough,
Australian Gums are, in parts of Southern California, much more numerous
than the native oaks they so often replace and outcompete, often over large
areas. Many of these areas are essentially gum-tree monoculture areas, yet
they can be incredibly important to bird populations. One in particular is
called the "Coronado Seep" in Santa Barbara. A gum forest on a coatal bluff
with a bit of water on the floor is the best birding spot for all types of
songbirds in Santa Barbara during the spring and most of the summer and
then again in the fall, although it is less important in the winter (to the
birds, but they are replaced by Monarch Butterflies). There is almost
nothing native in that spot.
Of course, the best place for any species is its original context where it
evolved. And it seems to me, the single largest threat to the diversity of
life on the planet is a "loss of habitat," but it does not mean that human
intervention or action is wholly or even mostly detrimental, necessarily.
At least, that is my opinion and experience.
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On Thu, Aug 6, 2015 at 12:37 PM, Jim Tate <> wrote:
> Are we speaking of "pines" here (as in genus *Pinus*), or something
> else? In either case, it occurs to me that you may be on to something. We
> have regularly condemned any non-native, self-replicating species as
> "invasive." Where in reality when alone, or mixed with natives, unique
> habitats are formed in which some species may find a niche and prosper.
> Are we selling new combinations short? -TATE
> James Tate, Jr.
> 2031 Huidekoper Pl NW
> Washington, DC 20007
> T 202-841-2056
> *Live as if you were to die tomorrow.Learn as if you were to live forever.*
> --Mahatma Gandhi