Tag Archives: alien

In Defense of Aliens

It's important to remember that not all alien species are harmful, and we shouldn't treat them all as such

Image Credit: Lou133lou133, CC BY-SA 4.0, Image Cropped

Building on last week’s article on defining invasive and alien species as well as the work of Professor Mark Davis, I am going to do the unimaginable for an ecologist and argue that maybe alien species aren’t always a bad thing. I want to emphasize that maintaining biodiversity is essential, but maybe we should focus on the role of species in their environment rather than their place of origin.

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The Sitka Spruce

The Sitka Spruce was introduced by the timber industry, and now covers almost 5 million hectares in Norway (Image Credit: James Brooks, CC BY 2.0, Image Cropped)

Once again, let us talk about trees. Do not be fooled by their innocent appearance – that is exactly what they want! In reality, they can be just as problematic as any animal species. This week I takes a closer look at the Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis).

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Defining an Invader

The Northern Pike. Although it's native to Norway, it has been moved around since and is now classified as 'regionally invasive'.

The Northern Pike. Although it’s native to Norway, it has been moved around since and is now classified as ‘regionally invasive’. (Image Credit: Jik jik, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Two weeks ago, Norwegian Science Institute Artsdatabanken (ADB) announced that they would be changing the name of their invasive and alien species index. Formerly known as the Black List, the institute decided to use a name with less negative connotations, “Fremmedartslista“, loosely translated, the Alien Species list. Given this series’ focus on species from that list, it seems like an appropriate time to look at how we define the terms ‘alien’ or ‘invasive’ species.

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Alien Trees & Filling the Knowledge Gap

recent report jointly published by WWF, Sabima, Friends of the Earth Norway and the Norwegian Botanical Society showed that alien tree species are one of the largest threats to native tree species, even inside protected areas. The news even reached Norwegian news outlet NRK. But why are alien trees a problem? Isn’t a tree, well, just a tree? As guest blogger Tanja Petersen explains, not quite.

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Invaders in the Garden

The Japanese Knotweed, an invasive species often found in gardens (Image Credit: HOerwin56Pixabay license, Image Cropped)

Guest post by Malene Nygård

Garden plants have a long tradition in Norway; from being used as medicine and food in the gardens of Catholic monasteries in the Middle Ages to today’s exotic ornamental plants. But this tradition also represents several centuries of unmonitored introductions of alien species, and it has left its mark in Norwegian nature.

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The Greater Canada Goose

The Greater Canada Goose. Adorable when it's not chasing you down a street with blood in its eyes.

The Greater Canada Goose. Adorable when it’s not chasing you down a street with blood in its eyes. (Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay license, Image Cropped)

We kick off our series of articles on Norway’s new invaders this week with the greater Canada goose. My association with these creatures is one of mild terror, having had to dodge them on campus during my time in Canada. But in Norway, and all across Europe, they’ve been a huge economic problem for decades, and are listed as one of only four birds on the EU commissioned list of Europe’s 100 worst invasive species.

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The Alien Species List

The Greater Canada Goose, one of many species on Norway’s Alien Species List (Image Credit: Bernard Spragg, CC0 1.0, Image Cropped)

Guest post by Malene Nygård

Lately, alien species have gained a lot of attention, making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Headlines like ‘Alien species are floating on plastic to the Norwegian shore’, ‘Aggressive blind passengers threaten Norwegian blueberries’, and ‘Unwanted species crossing the boarder threaten Norwegian plants’ are example of headings covering newspapers just in the last year. But what exactly is an alien species, and what makes them so unwanted?

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