Insects don't need native plants?


Snag a few quick picpics since i drove by today - it was even more colorful a week ago but a few things have gone to seed already.

And the goldenrod is just starting up, so this will probably look even more different in a few weeks.

Old golf corse, can you believe it?

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OMG this is gorgeous, thank you for taking the time in your day to get a few photos!

You’re welcome!

There is a lot of QAL in the field and that’s listed as a noxious weed in Ohio (I think,) but tbh it could be a lot worse.

Edit: info about the park https://foundation.summitmetroparks.org/projects/valley-view-area-of-cascade-valley-metro-park/

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This comment makes it sound like our Asian species have fewer fats, carbs, etc. while in North America (non-native) than while in Asia (native) and your North American species have fewer fats, carbs, etc. while in Asia (non-native) than while in North America (native). Am I understanding that correctly?

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Ah, no. I should have worded that differently, and I’ve edited my original post slightly for clarity. I am referring to a specific suite of highly-prevalent, fruiting plants that are invasive in North America (e.g., privets, non-native honeysuckles, barberries, etc.). I suspect the nutritional value of these fruits are similar in their native ranges, but my speculation is those plants in combination with the other native plants of those regions provide a balanced diet to the frugivores there that have coevolved with those plants.

To provide an example of the reverse, American Beautyberry has relatively nutrient-poor fruits. Here, beautyberry rarely if ever dominates a landscape as a monoculture. The fruits are eaten supplementally by birds in general and not as a mainstay. If we imagine this plant becoming invasive somewhere else and crowding out natives, the species is not providing the same nutrient content of the native plants it’s replacing.

Here is one study I was remembering: The Value of Native and Invasive Fruit-Bearing Shrubs for Migrating Songbirds

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Misapplication of the term “nativist” seems to be a common trope for those irritated by habitat restoration projects. In northern California, we have a problem that well-intentioned landowners of the 19th and 20th centuries planted large stands of Eucalyptus globulus. These blue gum trees have shaded out most of the native vegetation below them and created dark monoculture forests that are also alarmingly prone to fire. The species also resprouts energetically from the stumps of felled trees.

Land managers and fire agencies have come up with lots of careful plans to cut back or thin Eucalyptus and replace it with a more diverse mix of native vegetation that will support a richer native ecosystem. Unfortunately, the Eucalyptus have been present long enough that people grew up with these forests and have a strong attachment to them. (Admittedly, they look impressive and smell great.) This has made for some vitriolic verbal attacks on city planners and anyone else that chooses to speak in favor of restoration projects.

The general line is that proponents of habitat restoration projects have a “nativist agenda” in which supporting native wildlife somehow equates to intolerance for immigrants. As an immigrant myself, and one with rather progressive political views, it’s quite frustrating to be painted as a xenophobe by people trying to sway the views of a parks superintendent or county supervisor.

One consolation is that these people can sometimes undermine themselves with their own hyperbole. I remember listening at a public meeting to an impassioned denunciation of the “nativist agenda”. The speaker ended with a confident statement that our region’s frequent fog turned Eucalyptus stands into “cloud forests” that were impervious to wildfire. I got the impression that the decision makers were very aware of just how flammable Eucalyptus have proven in local wildfires and were unlikely to give the speaker’s opinions on “nativism” much credence either.

But I think the success of this myth of a “nativist agenda” highlights the ongoing need to communicate the reasons behind every restoration project and the benefits that people will see. If the majority of people can be convinced that they’ll like the results of restoration, the ridiculousness of equating native species with “nativist” politics will be self-evident.

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Tom Wessels has a very interesting video on YouTube called The Ecology of Coevolved Species which does a brief dive into the topic. I would like to point out invasive insects don’t always need their native host plants. Emerald ash borer, spotted lanternfly (although there are plenty of their preferred Tree of Heaven here in the U.S.) Asian longhorned beetle, European elm bark beetles, etc. come to mind. Speaking to the original topic though, it’s such a nuanced issue as to make any blanket statement about it dubious to say the least. When we lost the American chestnuts, the chestnut bee population cratered but they persisted in small numbers on introduced Asian chestnut trees. In the case of species being introduced beyond their native range, like the widely planted and naturalized black locust, many pollinators found their springtime blooms to be highly beneficial.

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Thanks for the clarification. The initial remark read as much broader than this comment about a specific group of non-native plants in a particular geographic context. Also, I appreciate you taking the time to find and link the study you had in mind!

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Swap your Eucalyptus for the pine plantation at Tokai - and those same arguments have been rolled out here since I was at school.
People LOVE the pine ‘forest’ at Tokai. Those straight lines of planted same age same species trees make for wonderful forest photos :rofl:

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I will add the “Name of associated plant” field if I know what the plant is

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People in america dont even always like pine plantations. There’s areas of the country where clear cut forests were reseeded with pine seeds instead of the trees that were originally there, and then left to grow so densly that they choke out any other vegetation, including themselves, since they get to a point where they can’t get enough light to grow further, but since all the trees are the same age, theres no canopy variation. So its just a dense forest of struggling pines and nothing else living.

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Three layers of sad, and a nightmare for fires.

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Pretty much.

That said, there is something magical about an old growth white pine / eastern hemlock forest, at least the few that are left and weren’t clear cut

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Our old growth forest has a miniscule footprint, tucked deep in the mountain kloofs along streams, where it is safe from runaway wildfires. And then doesn’t burn easily.

But planted pines, eucalyptus and palms! And then the mass of acacia saplings after fire!!

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They basically all have miniscule footprints, at least in the east/midwest of the US.

the one I’m thinking of was only saved from logging because it was private land of some wealthier individuals.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearts_Content_Scenic_Area

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Originally mountain catchment areas to supply water to the city of Cape Town.
Now those are national parks and wilderness areas.

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Heavy sigh

Bottom line - that statement is a sweeping generalization.
There are many plants which depend on a particular species of plant and visa versa.

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It’s amazing there’s still ANY old growth left in the east, but there are sporadic pockets of it. Here’s one close to me:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_Pines
About 5 minutes from my house there is a small surviving grove of eastern hemlock that was spared due to the location being a steep rugged hill strewn with large boulders. It’s protected water company property now, with a picturesque series of waterfalls.

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It’s amazing how some species, such as red pine, are incredible, beautiful trees in their native habitat, but in a plantation just a half mile away, are half dead scraggly twigs that look like they were beaten half to death with an ugly stick. Same species, but doesn’t look very similar at all. Plantations are just pretty awful in general, even plantations of native species.

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Apparantly CNN just did a small video on this restoration project https://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2023/08/22/ohio-golf-course-rewilding-c2e-spc-intl.cnn?fbclid=IwAR3UktMGOZvNokpbX6JMonJFVSxgHkPIT9X3_NN9zRo1HqdPtS6U3H63Q3E

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