A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Introduced species and their habitats

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Introduced species and their habitats   Sun 21 Jun 2015, 07:49

I have trouble sometimes knowing where to put things, but have decided on this one.



A while ago I mentioned the red deer that were released into New Zealand in the 19th century.  The New Zealand Geographic did a feature on the animals brought into NZ throughout its settlement.  The native fauna includes just birds, insects, fish and one mammal - several species of bats.   
The Polynesians arriving here brought with them kiore and kuri (rats and a small breed of dog).  These began the extinctions that have happened here constantly.  With European arrivals new forms of animals from the northern hemisphere multiplied.  De Surville brought pigs and gave a sow and boar to Maori but they are thought to have been eaten (and perhaps began the love affair for Maori with pork that has never abated).  James Cook was more deliberate – he released pigs, and they became wild and are still known as Captain Cookers. He also brought goats (maybe also eaten), hens and cocks.

The new settlers tried to make New Zealand more like Britain generally, and bringing in familiar animals was one of their tactics. For a start they provided familiar (and regular) food.  “Many saw a vacuum that Nature, apparently, found not at all abhorrent: crystal streams and lakes, filled with nothing more than eels and sardine-sized galaxiids. Vast forests saw nary an ungulate.”  So cows, pigs, sheep and fowls were brought in, but also game animals.  Deer and game shooting was part of the attraction of an egalitarian NZ as it didn’t have the aristocracy putting restrictions on ordinary people hunting.

People brought in whatever they fancied – kangaroos, antelopes, zebras, peacocks, all manner of birds. Chaos reigned and acclimatisation societies were formed, often with the wealthy and powerful of society as members. Deer came and the Asian chital deer became a pest but was hunted to extinction.  Not so others that became pests – red deer, wapiti, moose, chamois and Canada geese, and various ducks.  Some didn’t take – there are no English robins in NZs, nor snipes., woodcock, , foxes or beavers.  Black grouse didn’t either, but the heather provided for them did, and became a pest in the central North Island.

There were objections on the grounds of practicality (Maori objected to pheasants as they ate crops), or their abundance becoming a pest, like rabbits, possums, goats, red deer, cats. Some were brought in to try and control others and just became a pest themselves.

Acclimatisation societies became Fish and Game and concentrated on that. Trout were brought in and are still only allowed to recreational fishers – there are no trout on restaurant menus here.  They are still appreciated, but haven’t done a lot for native fish species. The love of trout meant people would have liked to exterminate some of the native species, but methods to try this were generally forbidden.  Some of the game animals brought problems for farmers and there has been friction between them and some hunters (though farmers generally enjoy duck shooting and deer hunting).  And then conservations realised how badly the deer were damaging the forests. They have been the subject of culling, along with Canada geese, and other species not generally hunted, like possums and rabbits.

Fish and Game began locking horns with conservation people; now they and the Department of Conservation tend to be on the same side. “Whether we look at a duck down the barrel of a shotgun or through as pair of binoculars, we’re both focused on the bastard who wants to drain the swamp.”  (There are native ducks though, which are protected and rare.) A combined objection to prevent damming a river was not successful when the protection of an important trout fishing grounds was mentioned but “Gollum”, a species of native fish saved it.  It is a little ironic for Fish and Game, since the importance of Gollum is as a source of food for trout, and the owners of the scheme lodged a claim saying saving native species wasn’t the brief of F and G.

One rather lovely story that I don’t remember reading about before:  The Acclimatisation Society brought in quinnat Salmon (Chinook or king salmon).  In 2010 a group of native American Winnamem Wintu people came to Rakaia to look at the first quinnat they had seen since the 1940s and offer their apologies after a hydro project destroyed their habitat.  They want to take New Zealand Chinook back to repopulate the species in their homeland.   Their leader said, “When our people first came into the world, it was salmon who gave us their voice, and we promised to always speak for them in return. But now, we might have to learn to speak with a Kiwi accent.”  A proposed dam on the Hurunui River might condemn some of the quinnat here to the same fate. 

I suppose these are issues that are more New World concerns, but I think there are animals in Europe which have been driven out by habitat harm and over-hunting.  How is that dealt with?  I have heard of plans to repopulate wolves (don’t know if they are very serious) in Britain.  And there’s controversy over beavers, I think.  I don’t know about other countries, but presume some of the habitat concerns that are so important here also apply to some degree in Europe.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3033
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:30

Caro, I take it you've heard the story of the Stephens Island Wren, which was wiped out by cats in the 1890s after the lighthouse was built;




the cats in their turn were exterminated in the 1920s


PS, the kiore introduced by the Maori had already wiped out the wren on the NZ mainland.
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3033
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:39

The classic example of out of control species would be the rabbits introduced into Australia which expanded to an estimated population of 600 million by the 1950s;



prompting the Australian Government to try myxomatosis as a solution.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 12:57

Which brings to mind this gem:

A rabbit walks into a pub and says to the barman "Can I have a pint of beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie"
The barman is amazed but gives the rabbit a pint of beer and a ham and cheese toastie.
The rabbit drinks the beer and eats the toastie, he then leaves.

The following night the rabbit returns and again asks for a Pint of Beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie.
The barman, now intrigued by the rabbit and the extra drinkers in the pub (because word gets round) gives the rabbit the pint and the toastie.
The rabbit consumes them and leaves.

The next night, the pub is packed, in walks the rabbit and says "A pint of beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie, please barman"
The crowd is hushed as the barman gives the rabbit his pint and toastie and then burst into applause as the rabbit wolfs them down then walks out.

The next night there is standing room only in the pub, coaches have been laid on for the crowds of patrons attending, the barman is making more money in one week than he did all last year.
In walks the rabbit and says, "A Pint of Beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie, please barman", smiling and accepting the tributes of the masses.

The barman says, "I'm sorry rabbit, old mate, old mucker but we are right out of them Ham and Cheese Toasties"
The rabbit looks aghast, the crowd has quietened to almost a whisper, when the barman clears his throat nervously and says, "We do have a very nice Cheese and Onion Toastie"

The rabbit looks him in the eye and says, "Are you sure I will like it"?
The masses bated breath is ear shatteringly silent.
The barman, with a roguish smile says, "Do you think that I would let down one of my best friends, I know you'll love it"

"Ok" says the rabbit," I'll have a Pint of Beer and a Cheese and Onion Toastie"

The pub erupts with glee as the rabbit quaffs the beer and guzzles the toastie, he then waves to the crowd and leaves.
NEVER TO RETURN!!!!!!

One year later in the now impoverished public house, the barman (who has only served 4 drinks tonight, 3 of which were his) calls time.
When he is cleaning down the now empty bar, he sees a small white form, floating above the bar.

The barman says, "Who are you"

To which he is answered,"I am the ghost of the rabbit that used to frequent your public house"
The barman says,"I remember you, you made me famous, you would come in every night and have a Pint of Beer and a Ham and Cheese Toastie, masses came to see you and this place was famous"

The rabbit says, "Yes I know"
The barman said, "I remember, on your last night we didn't have any Ham and Cheese Toasties, you had a Cheese and Onion one instead"
The rabbit said "Yes, you promised me that I would love it"
The barman said "You never came back, after that fateful night, what happened"

"I DIED", said the Rabbit.
"Blimey " said the barman,"what from".


After a short pause.







(keep scrolling)






















.or possibly a long pause







































The rabbit said... "Mixing me toasties "
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3033
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 13:03

^^^^^^^^

The barman had a bad hare day.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5684
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 13:12

Cunicular humour, I found, does not go at all well down down under. In fact it goes down like a lead balloon down in the down under land.

There is a myth - which I heard repeated only this morning on Radio 4's Today show - that rabbits were introduced to Britain and Ireland by the Normans. Sometimes it's the Vikings who get the blame. In both cases the hare is considered a venerable first citizen with prior claim on all the islands. To me that's a form of "creationism light" and a willful ignorance of what them bones tell us.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3033
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 14:26

"The vine that ate the South"

Japanese Kudzu infestation of woodland in Atlanta, GA;

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3033
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 22 Jun 2015, 14:33

And an American species in the UK. Mink were introduced for fur farming, unsurprising there were escapes and the animal is now loose throughout the country. Mink are generally blamed for the decrease in the water vole population;

Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5296
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 10:08

nordmann wrote:
Cunicular humour, I found, does not go at all well down down under. In fact it goes down like a lead balloon down in the down under land.

There is a myth - which I heard repeated only this morning on Radio 4's Today show - that rabbits were introduced to Britain and Ireland by the Normans. Sometimes it's the Vikings who get the blame. In both cases the hare is considered a venerable first citizen with prior claim on all the islands. To me that's a form of "creationism light" and a willful ignorance of what them bones tell us.


I thought the Romans introduced rabbits to Britain. Do we not read this, I think in Tacitus (The Agricola Book I)?

Olim errant quattuor cuniculi parvi, et eorum nomina errant: Flopsa, Mopsa, Cauda Linea et Petrus.

Cum sua matre in arena infra radicem abietis maximae habitabant.

"Nunc, mei cari," dixit vetus mater cunicula die quodam prima luce, "vobis licet in agros ire aut secundum semitam, sed nolite ire in hortum Domini McGregor. Pater tuus calamitatem ibi habuit; in crustum a Domina McGregor positus est. Nunc currite et nolite introire in maleficium."

I like that last exhortation: "Nunc currite et nolite introire in maleficium". Said with enough authority in the voice, it has an almost Augustinian ring to it.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:09

I tried to find a similar reference to rabbits in that classic text 'Domus anguli Puensis', but while there are plenty of references to Eduardus Ursus, Porcellus, Tigris, and even a heffalumpus, the only lagomorph mentioned is called Lepus .....

'Heus, ecquis domi est?'
Fuit intus rumor quidqm sternutamenti similis et deinde denuo silentium.
'Dixit equidem et dico: ecquis domi est?' clamavit Pu magna voce
'Minime,' respondit vox; deonde subiunxit: 'Noli tam magna voce clamare. Jam in primo te clarissime audivi.
'Malum!' dixit Pu. 'Nemo prorsus adest?'
'Nemo!'
Winnie ille Pu caput foramine extraxit, aliquamdiu cogitabat et secum cogitabat: 'Aliquis adesse debet quia aliquem "nemo" dixisse oportuit.' Caput ergo iterum in foramen inseruit et dixit:
'Heus, Lepus, esne tu?'
'Non sum,' dixit Lepus nunc mutata voce.
'Nonne haec vox Leporem sonat?'
'Non puto,' dixit Lepus.'Nollem sonaret.'
'O!' dixit Pu.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:26; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Malum! ... it's motion towards!!)
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5296
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:21

Very Happy


Nice avatar here for our favourite bear. Not sure which one of us is the standard bearer: I suspect you, MM. Smile


Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:24

Yup, Porcellus, that'd be me - oink, oink!
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5296
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:35

Oh, it wasn't a reference to anything oink oinkish, MM - I just thought Piglet looks really sweet. Oh, sorry, that's even worse.

Oh heck, putting mon pied right in it, comme d'habitude. It was said with affection, honest!

Remember Dorothy Parker, quick.




Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:42

No offence taken at all!

By the way, returning to Caro's original post, I see your Devonian beavers in the river Otter have just had kits ... at least two, possibly more.
Smile


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 24 Jun 2015, 14:48; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5296
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 12:03

Yes - although not everyone's thrilled (I am, though). Beaver père was filmed last year:


 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-25822883


He's been doing a bit of damage, but nothing major.
I don't want to mess about with him. If that's what he can do to a tree, what about your ankles?


Shock and gnaw.


Last edited by Temperance on Wed 24 Jun 2015, 21:36; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
LadyinRetirement
Decemviratus Legibus Scribundis
avatar

Posts : 739
Join date : 2013-09-16

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 12:11

nordmann wrote:
Cunicular humour, I found, does not go at all well down down under. In fact it goes down like a lead balloon down in the down under land.

There is a myth - which I heard repeated only this morning on Radio 4's Today show - that rabbits were introduced to Britain and Ireland by the Normans. Sometimes it's the Vikings who get the blame. In both cases the hare is considered a venerable first citizen with prior claim on all the islands. To me that's a form of "creationism light" and a willful ignorance of what them bones tell us.
Sorry to show my ignorance, Nordmann, but when did bunnykins first appear in Britain or was he/she there before the island was cut off from mainland Europe?
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 3033
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 13:15

Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 15:40

Most of the recent animal introductions to France are actually re-introductions or just attempts to support animals expanding back into their orginal ranges.

Alpine marmots were reintroduced into the Pyrenees in 1948 and are now fully re-established in the high mountains. I don't know why they ever became locally extinct since they seem to have disappeared 10,000 years ago and were certainly not greatly affected by human action and marmots continued to flourish in the Alps. Anyway they're back here. You rarely see them, but in the mountains you often hear their whistles as they call warnings to each other. The mouflon (a wild sheep) had been exinct in the Pyrenees for several thousand years too, but was successfully reintroduced in the 1980s (as a crossbreed of Corsican and Sardinian animals). The Pyrenean ibex (a wild goat) was hunted to extinction in the 20th century and so far there is only talk about possibly reintroducing alpine ibex to the high Pyrenees.

The successful reintroduction of the marmot and mouflon - as well as more enlightened human attitudes - has certainly benefitted larger carnivores. Griffon vultures were rare occasional visitors mostly from Spain (they can easily fly many 100s of km in a day if they want), but now there is a breeding population, resident year-round in the southern Pyrenees. Surprisingly for such enormous birds they are actually becoming relatively common ... I've even had them using the updraft thrown up by my house! I expect wolves have also benefitted from the growing population of marmots. Wolves were hunted to extinction in the Pyrenees in the 20th century but have managed to migrate back, expanding across southern France from a residual population on the French/Italian border. They've only been back in the Pyrenees for about half a dozen years so it's probably too early to state that they are re-established but it's thought there are now at least a dozen wolves living in the local mountains. The bears however haven't been doing so well and their population, now basically confined to a national park which encompasses some of the remotest valleys of the high Pyrenees, has recently had to be boosted with releases of bears from Sovenija.

One unwanted alien however is the North American muskrat which is becoming established in the rivers and lagoons here where they cause considerable damage by burrowing into the banks of levees and dykes. Another introduction/escape that certainly isn't encouraged is Japanese Knotweed. I'd seen a few small clumps along the lanes here, but last time I went that way walking the dog, I noticed that the council had dug all the big clumps up and covered the soil with black plastic and heavy tarpauline to try and kill it off. I guess they've also been spraying the small individual clumps with herbicide. I hope it doesn't get established anywhere near me.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 24 Jun 2015, 18:41; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
Back to top Go down
Temperance
Virgo Vestalis Maxima
avatar

Posts : 5296
Join date : 2011-12-30

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 16:47

Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 17:52

Japanese knotweed of course isn't a problem in Japan where it is continually kept in check by indigenous insects and fungi that have evolved to eat it. I hear there is talk of introducing some Japanese bugs to Europe to try and control the knotweed .... but understandably after Australia's cane toad fiasco there is caution. (South American cane toads were introduced to Australia to control native beetles that were damaging agricultural crops. Without any predators the toads multiplied and started eating other native wild animals in preference to the beetles they had been introduced to control. An ongoing, expensive eco-diaster all round).

Young shoots of Japanese Knotweed are perfectly edible and apparently have a mild rhubarby taste. Perhaps we humans should all be encouraged to become its predator. There are more than enough of us after all.
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2550
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Wed 24 Jun 2015, 19:03

Have you got himalayan balsam over there, MM, it's a real problem here? Part of the problem is, it's quite pretty until it takes over.



Apart from the trial introduction of beavers in Kintyre, there's a thriving population in the Tay which came from who-knows-where. About 200+ of them are now happily breeding away and really getting up the noses of the salmon fishing lobby - well, not literally, they're a bit big for that.

Don't they look at home?

                         
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:32

Beavers never became extinct in France through it was a close run thing. By the beginning of the 20th century there was only a small population of just a few dozen animals surviving on the lower reaches of the Rhône. With concerted conservation, by the 1960s the Rhône population had expanded up river almost as far as Lyon. In the 1980s there were controlled releases in several areas throughout central and north-east France. It's thought the French beaver population is now at least 15,000 animals located throughout the Rhône valley, including most of the upper tributaries that rise in the Alps, across the watershed with the Loire, and so now along most of the length of that river system too. There are also smaller isolated populations in Brittany and in Alsace-Lorraine.

Himalayan balsam ... I well remember the great inpenetrable thickets of that from Surrey, but thankfully I've not seen it around here. And of course another thoroughly noxious, alien plant, is Giant Hogweed (originally introduced to Europe from central Asia). Not only is it highly invasive but its sap is phototoxic to humans causing blistering, scarring and even blindness if it gets in the eyes.
Back to top Go down
Caro
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1103
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Thu 25 Jun 2015, 22:52

Quote :
I hear there is talk of introducing some Japanese bugs to Europe to try and control the knotweed .... but understandably after Australia's cane toad fiasco there is caution.



My husband, working at his agricultural NFP organisation, was involved with bringing in a thistle beetle to control thistles.  Without fail, everyone he mentioned this to looked alarmed and said something like, "Will that be safe? Are you allowed to?" etc.  We have not at all forgotten the animals brought it to control other pests who have then become pests themselves.  We are not allowed to breed ferrets here, for instance, or keep them as pets, though I did the other day a man using ferrets to kill rabbits on a fairly large scale.  (The thistle beeters were brought in, and in some places seem to have made a difference and in others none.)

There are calls to cull cats here, but that hasn't gone down particularly well, though I live near an area where (some of) the residents get out and shoot wild cats to allow the native birds to thrive. I will have mentioned before the black robin whose population got down to 8 with one female.  Old Blue saved her species by living much longer than usual and breeding them out of immediate danger (with a lot of help from some human scientists/environmentalists, who took them from their home area and fostered the chicks to allow the birds to breed more frequently than was natural).


Last edited by Caro on Sat 27 Jun 2015, 22:12; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sat 27 Jun 2015, 20:16

Of course some introductions just find a niche, settle down and don't seem to cause that much problem.....

Genets are not strictly native to the south of France, but they've been here so long and do not seem to have caused any huge ecological problems, that they are now basically accepted as a rare part of the natural fauna. They are pretty little things a bit like a cross between a cat, a ferret, and a big squirrel, though in fact they are most closely related to mongooses:



They're native to North Africa but seem to have been introduced into southern Spain by the Moors in about the 12th century. Like cats they were appreciated as pets and as efficient domestic hunters of mice and rats. From Spain they have subsequently expanded through most of southern France as far as Italy, but they are still not exactly common (in 12 years here I've only seen a genet twice, both times very fleetingly in the car head lights at night).

They probably do compete with all sorts of other carnivores such as weasels, martens, badgers, foxes, snakes, crows, hawks, buzzards etc.  and they'll eat any small bird, mammal, reptile that they can get, but as their preference is generally for more open, dry country (especially vinyards) that probably means they aren't really driving any other predators or prey species to extinction. And as I say they've been here for the past 900 years so they're now basically accepted as natives.
Back to top Go down
Gilgamesh of Uruk
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1400
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sat 27 Jun 2015, 23:27

Quote :
they've been here for the past 900 years so they're now basically accepted as natives.

Not long enough for that status to be given them in certain parts of the UK.
Back to top Go down
Vizzer
Censura
avatar

Posts : 815
Join date : 2012-05-12

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sun 05 Mar 2017, 20:46

ferval wrote:
Part of the problem is, it's quite pretty until it takes over.

Thankfully we don't have any himalayan balsam but we do have california poppy. They have been sprouting out of the gravel path and the drive for about 15 years now. We don't know where they came from and we have both the california bronze and the mexican gold varieties. They are very pretty too and don't seem to be a problem. They don't take over but rather have a habit of seeding themselves into tastefully arranged individual blooms here and there. In fact as a wild flower they're a welcome addition to the garden and much preferable to our native dandelions which almost goes without saying. With shallow roots they are very easy to dead head, cut back or pull up at the end of their flowering season. Embarrassingly low maintenance really.



First recorded in the 1810s, 19th century botanists soon brought seed pods to Europe where initially it was thought that they would only suit Mediterranean climes. They are, however, surprisingly hardy and have been seen as far north as Scotland provided the soil is well drained. I was out March-pruning roses today when I noticed young california poppy shoots already peeking through the pebbles.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2847
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Fri 10 Mar 2017, 15:53

Californian poppies (Eschscholzia californica) are nice cheerful plants, but like common British red poppies their seeds do seem to remain dormant yet viable for a long time. They are quite common locally in this bit of southern France in peoples gardens and along urban verges, and so obviously they seem to like the climate and conditions here especially near the Mediterranean coast. When we moved to our current house - which is more inland up in the forested mountains - there weren't any that I remember growing in the garden. I have never planted any here nor deliberately scattered any seed, but when I dug over a border about five years after we'd moved in, they suddenly all popped up that summer and have since self-seeded down the bank. They now emerge occasionally, in odd places, now and again, but nothing like that sudden flush following my digging efforts ... as I say like Flanders' Poppies they do seem to need newly disturbed earth for the seed to be activated and for the plant to spring up, and so are probably fairly easily controlled if they ever get too invasive.

Also on the subject of introduced species I see that Prince Charles has publically backed a scheme to control grey squirrels by using Nutella doped with a contraceptive. The plan is to gradually render England's grey squirrels infertile to allow, in the fullness of time, the reds to come back into their old haunts.

The Guardian - How Prince Charles plans to sterilise the nations squirrels with Nutella (26 Feb 2017)

All very laudable .... but won't the greys just move in from surrounding countryside to repopulate any treated areas long before the reds get a chance to become established? And what happens whilst the greys are hopefully declining and the reds gradually moving back in? Such population changes don't just happen over a weekend and I presume the contraceptive chemical is as equally effective on reds as well as greys.

There has been another UK scheme proposed which has actually already been shown to work very effectively. In Scotland, Northumberland, Cumbria and Wales, there have been several long-running programs aimed at assisting the long-term survival of pine martens ... and surprisingly the numbers of red squirrels (which are one of the martens' principal prey) have actually also increased at the same time. It seems the pine martens catch more grey squirrels than reds (the reds are lighter so in trees can often avoid martens and they tend to spend less time on the ground than the greys do) and so it seems the martens, whilst still squirrel predaters, actually give the reds a slight edge over the greys in getting established (after all they did evolve side-by-side together in these same forests ... unlike the grey interlopers). It is certainly true that where I live we have a good population of red squirrels and of martens, but there are no grey squirrels at all ... (NB strictly our local French fouines are beech-, or stone-martens, and so they are a distinct, although very closely related species, to their cousins the pine-martens).

Pine martens, despite being beautiful, reclusive, rare and even endangered little animlals, are however also apparently 'notorious' in the UK for damaging stocks of game birds, especially those that are reared and released for shootin'. And that might be perhaps why HRH has decided to publically back the contraceptive-Nutella idea? Gotta keep them immature pheasants and grouse alive so they can be shot .... and so keep the coins rolling into the Duchy of Lancashire's coffers!
Back to top Go down
 

Introduced species and their habitats

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: Sport and Pastimes-