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« The Other Olympics | Main | Ethnomedica - Remembered Remedies »

Friday, August 27, 2004


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Edward Bryant

North American ecosystems are truely endangered by only one exotic species, and it is in the genus Homo not Lumbricus.

Francisco Cotejo Jr.

Conclusions derived from inadequate info can be misleading. You can not give what you don't have. Farmers increase low ph by adding lime. EW can possibly increase a bit of pH by making Ca++ more available. But can EW cause a significant increase in pH considering the highly acidic nature of NA forest litter? There must be some other factors or conditions that cause change in pH. How about forest fires?

Toby Hemenway

It's my understanding that the earthworms in question are early-succession critters, imported from Europe as one of the many camp followers that thrive in plowed soil.

The more I study so-called invasive species, the more I have to agree with David Theodoropoulos's book, "Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience." There's almost no evidence that any "invasive" (I loathe the term) species itself is directly responsible for extinction or ecosystem harm; they are generally a symptom of damage. In many cases, you'll see a native species praised for its ability to "accumulate nutrients, form leaf litter, shade bare soil, and attract pollinators," and also see an exotic condemned for exactly the same qualities, labeled as "interfering with natural succession patterns." We love to find easily identified enemies and then eradicate them--it makes us feel very virtuous. But it distracts us from the larger, more complex causes (kinda reminds me of the war in Iraq).

For my review of Theodoropoulos's book see

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