Saturday, March 17, 2007

Invasive species buzz

Invasive bees collide with shifting definitions held by stakeholders whose solutions hold quite dissimilar goals. If the solution for a particular invasive species group is the total elimination of all species not indigenous or alien prior to European colonization, then, there will be a miscommunication and a lack of cooperation with those groups who perhaps hold a wider solution such as the removal of those species causing economic harm or aesthetic harm. Both bodies are struggling with the same issue, invasive species, but since possible mediation of their differences in respect to proposed solutions are not under discussion each spends much time hammering the other in ad hominem, group labeling attacks.

For the particular bee stakeholder, whose solution is to return to a native only pollination regime, the expectation would be an outline of the total effect on the quality of life in the short term, and the cost of re-engineering society in a fashion that would not cause greater harm to those who do not have the financial resources to survive an abrupt change. The constant tension between short and long term economic horizons demands that we think in terms of dynamic change to public awareness, buy-in and policy. The discussion must deal with economics and must have room for solution change and growth.

An absolute statement of a goal which tolerates no middle ground will surely engender unforeseen problems. It is the nature of the invasive species issue that every iteration of an attempt to actively changes the paradigm will create a new matrix for consideration. In other words, allowing the alien bee to disappear, while certainly a positive step forward for the back-to-before-the-European solution, will certainly change the dynamics and quality of the ecological system under consideration. So you can’t go back., and that is a wicked inconvenice

This is not to say that we should do nothing, which is the other side of the extreme solution set. The demise of self-sustaining ecosystems will demand the expenditure of resources at some time in the future. We will have to filter the air and water somehow, whether we use the “free” system of conservation, sustainable eco-landscapes or a system of high-tech depended filtration factories.

It would seem that productive European honey bees are, like cattle and wheat, a beneficial, ay some level, resource, which we need to manage. It follows that native bees must be protected in order to foster the growth and vitality of our “natural” systems.

Here is the posting which prompted my remarks:

Honey bees in US facing extinction!
Somehow these media scare stories on the honeybees always fail to mention that, technically, Apis mellifera is an invasive species in the Americas.
The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) is not native to the Western Hemisphere. Stingless bees (Meliponids and Trigonids) are native to the West Indies, as well as Central and South America. Wax and small amounts of honey were obtained from stingless bee nests by the early Indians of these areas.
Information available indicates that colonies of honey bees were shipped from England and landed in the Colony of Virginia early in 1622. One or more shipments were made to Massachusetts between 1630 and 1633, others probably between 1633 and 1638.
So, though the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder may be very bad for some parts of the commercial agriculture industry, the idea that we're suddenly going to run out of pollinators is ridiculous. Indeed, when it comes to
native bee populations, CCD could have a positive impact.

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