Worms can be invasive study says

permajamie(9)December 12, 2009

I read an article in a farming magazine at the library. I don't recall the name. Anyways, it said that exotic european worms (which are the ones used in worm bins: red wigglers and nightcrawlers) are good for farms (and worm bins I might add), but when released into the wild they can be damaging to forests. I found this interesting and informative so I thought I would share.

I am going to add an article below from the same study, but different news source.

Here is a link that might be useful: spread of earthworms

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The introduction of any non-native "thing" (plant or animal) can impact an ecosystem that can't adapt to the changes. That being said, many of the fruits, vegetables, houseplants, etc. commonly grown in North America are non-native. From this and a few other articles I've read on the effect of earthworms is that they change the ecosystem and do not directly damage the trees themselves, the saplings just need help getting a good start. I think that forest management practices can have a positive impact on doing this, as well as methods to prevent the spread into "virgin" areas if there are any.

Non-native humans also have had and still have a significant negative impact on many areas of the world. God help us if anyone starts thinking it's time for culling the herd.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 7:52AM
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Luckily, nature has a process for culling the herd. We just need to stop trying to subvert the process and begin living in a sustainable manner, allowing nature to control our population.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 3:05PM
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wild goat said: Luckily, nature has a process for culling the herd. We just need to stop trying to subvert the process and begin living in a sustainable manner, allowing nature to control our population.

Ok I'm all for that. You go first. lol. happy worming Steve

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 6:48PM
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Ecosystems adapt and evolve. There are hardwood forests in Europe. Tells me hardwood forests can exist with Euro worms. Officially, invasive really just means that it can be potentially damaging for humans, mainly on an economic level. Otherwise, every migratory animal in the world would be invasive.

The very idea that something is invasive just because humans moved it is borne of the arrogant notion we are not a natural being and that our actions can possibly be outside of nature rather than a part of it. It comes from religious notions of separation of man and nature and the ideas of creation like "young earth" creation and others that believe that everything just appeared in a natural order according to a deity's will. With "young earth" creationism God just placed everything here a little over 6,000 years ago in their natural places and any change is unnatural. With evolution it is recognized that life evolved and adapted to changing conditions as it spread around the earth by a variety of means. Storms carried insects to islands. Winds are right now carrying fungi from the Sahara to Central America (causing respiratory illness in children). Drastic changes in temperatures forced the migration of some animals to change, thus changing other ecosystems with the addition of these new animals.

See, invasive means non-indigenous. Non-indigenous means not originating from or not occurring naturally. When considering an old earth and evolution, one simply can't qualify any living thing as "unnatural". If we really think about it, what can be deemed "indigenous"? In Indiana, there were no grassy plains in the glaciated regions for a very, very long time. In fact, pretty much no animal life at all that has been here for quite some time now was here 16k years ago. In fact, the land itself isn't. Literally. The majority of the top of our land is the result of deposits from glaciers. Does that make the majority of life here invasive? I don't believe so. At what point did the life that took hold here become indigenous and we could then exclude new life arriving as invasive?

I hear stuff like, "it will take (thousands, millions, whatever) years for the land to recover from (such and such) damage." No. It won't. I mean, it won't recover. It isn't damaged. It's changed. Eventually, life will adapt and more change will occur with or without our intervention/efforts. That is the true beauty of nature. Chernobyl is actually an amazing example of this.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 11:01AM
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Young Earth, Old Earth? This post is about an article stating that worms can become an invasive creature. Believing in a Creator or not doesn't define a worm as being or not being an invasive species.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Didn't say it did. Don't take my words out of context, please. Belief in a Creator doesn't mean you believe the earth is only 6k years old. I said nothing about belief in a creator, only about when one might believe it occurred. I am merely saying your outlook on the age of the world and how life progressed determines your outlook on the entire definition of what is natural, indigenous, and therefore invasive. So, you are wrong. It does define a worm or any other life form as being invasive in any way other than as an economic problem for humans. Though the article mentions specifically (did you read it?) economic reasoning, the poster said "damaging to forests". That's why I addressed the concept of damage. I replied to what was posted. Don't try to make it a religious argument.

Besides, the entire concept behind proof that the earthworms weren't here before is based on geological evidence that the glaciers (before young earther's believe God made the Earth) would have made the land in question uninhabitable for the worms. In other words, a young earther wouldn't believe the science behind the article anyway. Not without ignoring some core beliefs or core evidence. Try reading some of the research this is based on and then tell me I'm not commenting on the post and the article.

The point of mentioning religion is merely concerning it's affect on how we all think today, whether you are a believer or not. Ideas from one philosophy can often influence another. The poster said "damaging to forests" and I was just pointing out that if you choose to acknowledge evolution then there can be no damage, just change. There can be no invasive species. Just new ones.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 1:39PM
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