Massachusetts Proposes Ban/Phase-Out of 140+ Plants

Boyce Tankersley
Fri, 09 Sep 2005 07:42:03 PDT
As Mark and Matt have pointed out, non-native species can wreck havoc if they escape into non-cultivated (and in Mark's case cultivated) areas.

The efforts to control invasive species are much more complex than a simple ban on the importation/sale of certain species in a state. Basically, how do you eliminate all examples of an invasive species so that it can never invade natural areas again?

At the national level, the revisions of the USDA Q-37 regulations will regulate the importation of plants and, in laymens terms, restrict plant importations to those taxa that are already proven non-invasive (or can be proven to be non-invasive - there is no current accurate methodology to do this for all of the microclimate habitats within the 50 United States and territories).

A recent Transportation Bill up for approval in Congress mandated the removal of invasive species from all highway landscaping jobs and their replacement with 'approved' species.

At the state level a number of states have imposed or are in the process of imposing restrictions on plants that can be imported or sold in their jurisdiction.

At the botanic garden level, a number of botanic gardens have already removed or are being urged to remove all examples of invasive taxa from their permanent collections - as an example for the rest of society to follow. A best practices plan has been created by a select group of representatives of botanic garden, nursery industry, conservationist and public policy advocates but has only been adopted by two botanic gardens as of this date.

Certainly, as Matt has pointed out, cities and townships will have a tremendous task if they choose or someday are mandated to remove invasive species from the landscapes under their care - this is not currently a provision of any of the state legislative efforts that I am aware of (let us hope that they are not replaced by another species planted in large monoculture stands).

This leaves the existing plants in natural areas that will need to be controlled and those plants that are on private property. 

There are already enough propagules in the natural areas that it will take decades of intensive management before the last viable seed in the seedbank is eliminated - many of us will not see this in our lifetimes. Sadly, few natural areas have any plans in place to 'weed' their property of undesirably invasive species. It will take funding on a massive level to allocate the resources needed to monitor the nations' natural areas over decades to insure the last propagules in the seedbank are removed.

Specimens on private property will pose a risk to re-establishment of additional plants in natural areas. Currently private property owners are being urged to voluntarily remove invasive species from their landscapes.

Boyce Tankersley

-----Original Message-----
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Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 9:27 PM
Subject: [pbs] Massachusetts Proposes Ban/Phase-Out of 140+ Plants

Matt Mattus writes:
Anyway, I live in Massachusetts, in a city that has recently counted over
200,000 Norway maples planted on it's streets. 
I too live in Massachusetts, about 40 miles northwest of Boston.  I have 
about 2 acres of land, 1 acre open and sunny, the other acre in deep woods, almost 
all of which is non-native Norway maple.  Underneath, is a dense thicket of 
horribly spinny-thorned Berberis thunbergii, a Japanese plant that is very 
thorny and invasive.  Systematically I'll cut down the berberis, and even cut down 
the huge old rotting Norway Maple and replace with native species, or even 
refined non-native species.

I've been gardening here for 18 years, and a number of plants have shown to 
be horribly invasive, such as Campanula punctata and the allied korean C. 
takisimense.. my woodlands are now thick with them, and beyond.  Ajuga has equal 
potential as being horribly invasive.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
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