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 Introduced species and their habitats

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

^^^^^^^^

The barman had a bad hare day.
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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.
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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;

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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;

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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.
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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!!)
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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


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

Yup, Porcellus, that'd be me - oink, oink!
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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.




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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


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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.


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

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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.


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

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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.
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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?

                         
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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.
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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).


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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Thu 16 Aug 2018, 09:39

About a month ago I had a Dutch family staying here and we got talking about gardens and plants, and they showed me a photo of their garden in Rotterdam where there was a prominent bush completely brown and stripped of all its leaves. Commenting on this they said that it was due to box tree moths (or rather their catapillars), a species that had arrived in Holland from East Asia about ten years ago and was now devastating all the box trees and hedges around where they lived. I said I’d never seen it here and went to check on a couple of small box trees along my drive. Both were in full leaf and good health with no sign of any insect/catapillar attack.

But yesterday I was passing through the village and was shocked to see that the long hedge bordering the kiddies play area was completely brown with the leaves all munched off or dead. Arriving home I again inspected the bushes along my drive plus a couple of others in the adjacent woodland, and these too were all brown and stripped of leaves. So it seems in just a few weeks the box tree moth has arrived here and made itself thoroughly at home.

Unlike in England where they seem to grow mostly on chalk, limestone or calcareous sandstone, eg at Box Hill in Surrey or in the Chilterns, here we are on granite and so box is not a major component of the local forest but it is nevertheless an endemic natural species. Looking online it seems that the box tree moth only arrived in Europe in the early to mid 2000s, but is now fairly widespread at least in warmer areas. I’ve seen no official concerns voiced about it but it does certainly seem to be a devastating pest, all the more so because European box doesn’t seem as able to regrow from old growth as Asian box species which are the moth’s natural food source in its home range. As I say there are not that many wild box trees in the forest hereabouts but they do form dense thickets in the understory (beneath primarily oaks and sweet chestnuts) and being a non-deciduous tree these provide welcome winter shelter and cover for deer, boar and birds. I wonder if the local box will survive and also whether I should perhaps cut my bushes back hard to try and encourage them to reshoot from below, although I fear it is probably too late to get any regrowth this year.

Ironically one of the few predators of the box tree moth seems to be the Asian hornet – itself an invasive species also recently arrived from Asia and now spreading aggressively across southern Europe. Unfortunately Asian hornets also predate European bees and so in France there  is now a concerted programme to try and eradicate or at least control them. This is complicated because while the Asian hornet is an unwelcome pest, the European hornet is a protected species whose numbers are declining, in part due to competition with Asian hornets. It is illegal to destroy the nests of European hornets but compulsory to destroy (or at least report) the nests of Asian hornets. Accordingly leaflets have been distributed to all households, as well as posters in public building and articles in newspapers, for correctly identifying the two related species. (In short European hornets have striped yellow/brown bodies and all brown legs while Asian hornets have all brown bodies and yellow patches on their legs – but you still have to get uncomfortably close to correctly identify them). Last summer I found a hornet nest in an old bird box on a tree in the garden. Hornets are not generally aggressive unless you get close to the nest wherupon they do start to get agitated and try to drive you away. So it wasn' that easy to identify them ... but eventually I did work out that they were good old homeboy European hornets and so I could happily for all concerned just leave them alone.

By the way how's the ash tree die-back problem in Britain? I've seen nothing about it here and all the local ash trees still seem completely unaffected.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Thu 16 Aug 2018, 22:48

Cher Meles meles,

just entered the forum...
"About a month ago I had a Dutch family staying here and we got talking about gardens and plants, and they showed me a photo of their garden in Rotterdam where there was a prominent bush completely brown and stripped of all its leaves. Commenting on this they said that it was due to box tree moths (or rather their catapillars), a species that had arrived in Holland from East Asia about ten years ago and was now devastating all the box trees and hedges around where they lived. I said I’d never seen it here and went to check on a couple of small box trees along my drive. Both were in full leaf and good health with no sign of any insect/catapillar attack.

But yesterday I was passing through the village and was shocked to see that the long hedge bordering the kiddies play area was completely brown with the leaves all munched off or dead. Arriving home I again inspected the bushes along my drive plus a couple of others in the adjacent woodland, and these too were all brown and stripped of leaves. So it seems in just a few weeks the box tree moth has arrived here and made itself thoroughly at home."

Yes the same overhere, the Dutch are right...it was on TV here lately...not yet reached Bruges I suppose...had a bit difficulties with the "box tree" to find out that it was our "Buxus"....We have a lot of Buxus around our house and not yet affected by the caterpillars...

But are you sure that the box trees are not brown by the two heat periods of lately...in our garden some became brown, although I gave them each day some water...but now with the usual Belgian rainy weather, they turn all green again...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buxus



And we have also "taxus baccata" the one who planted it said...and it seems that there was also a disease  around but lucky it didn't affected ours...and it seems that it is good for cancer patients they told us...they even collected it in the containerpark (ordure belt?) for that purpose
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata

Medical[edit]

Certain compounds found in the bark of yew trees were discovered by Wall and Wani in 1967 to have efficacy as anti-cancer agents. The precursors of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (taxol) was later shown to be synthesized easily from extracts of the leaves of European yew,[41] which is a much more renewable source than the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) from which they were initially isolated. This ended a point of conflict in the early 1990s; many environmentalists, including Al Gore, had opposed the destructive harvesting of Pacific yew for paclitaxel cancer treatments. Docetaxel can then be obtained by semi-synthetic conversion from the precursors.




Hope that Caro has seen my contribution about the "avocado fights" in New Zealand on the Brexit thread (elephant in the room)
CARO WHERE ARE YOU?

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sun 19 Aug 2018, 14:33

We've had no box tree moths here but we have had a couple of outbreaks of 'regular' box blight. In the first instance a tree at the end of a row of hedging suddenly turned yellow. At first I thought that it had been heavily sprayed by a dog-fox or a tom-cat but then it died and I feared the worst. I carefully cut it down, dug up the roots and picked up all the dead leaves. All was then burned. The rest of the hedge seemed okay and so the following winter I planted a young replacement which at first was dwarfed by its neighbours but caught up surprisingly quickly.

A few years later on the same hedge, another tree (this time mid-hedge) started showing signs of yellowing and so I immediately pollarded the yellow branches but didn't cut down the whole plant. Needless to say I also carefully picked up any dead yellow leaves from the ground and these too were fed to the flames. That tree survives and so I'm hoping that it (and its siblings) have developed some kind of immunity to the blight.

Ash die-back also seems to have passed us by so far. We have about 7 ash trees of varying ages and all are in the best of health. It's certainly a story which has fallen out of the headlines since it first arrived in the British Isles about 6 years ago. But I'm not complacent and am ever watchful for any lesions on ours.

Talking about plants bucking the trend and fighting back - I once bought Mrs V a fuchsia as a present but the know-it alls said that, as lovely as it was, it would never survive the winter. And this particular species 'campos-portoi' from Brazil, we were told, was particularly wimpy and to be considered an annual. Although the fuschia genus was first transported from the Americas to Europe in the 17th century, 'campos-portoi' was only registered by botanists in the 1930s so not that much is known about them and the data is scarce. I can add to that data, however, and say that 12 years later that fuschia is now 7-foot tall, 8-foot wide, is extremely popular with bees and is also a haven for all kinds of bird-life.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sun 19 Aug 2018, 22:15

@Vizzer wrote:
We've had no box tree moths here but we have had a couple of outbreaks of 'regular' box blight. In the first instance a tree at the end of a row of hedging suddenly turned yellow. At first I thought that it had been heavily sprayed by a dog-fox or a tom-cat but then it died and I feared the worst. I carefully cut it down, dug up the roots and picked up all the dead leaves. All was then burned. The rest of the hedge seemed okay and so the following winter I planted a young replacement which at first was dwarfed by its neighbours but caught up surprisingly quickly.

A few years later on the same hedge, another tree (this time mid-hedge) started showing signs of yellowing and so I immediately pollarded the yellow branches but didn't cut down the whole plant. Needless to say I also carefully picked up any dead yellow leaves from the ground and these too were fed to the flames. That tree survives and so I'm hoping that it (and its siblings) have developed some kind of immunity to the blight.

Ash die-back also seems to have passed us by so far. We have about 7 ash trees of varying ages and all are in the best of health. It's certainly a story which has fallen out of the headlines since it first arrived in the British Isles about 6 years ago. But I'm not complacent and am ever watchful for any lesions on ours.

Talking about plants bucking the trend and fighting back - I once bought Mrs V a fuchsia as a present but the know-it alls said that, as lovely as it was, it would never survive the winter. And this particular species 'campos-portoi' from Brazil, we were told, was particularly wimpy and to be considered an annual. Although the fuschia genus was first transported from the Americas to Europe in the 17th century, 'campos-portoi' was only registered by botanists in the 1930s so not that much is known about them and the data is scarce. I can add to that data, however, and say that 12 years later that fuschia is now 7-foot tall, 8-foot wide, is extremely popular with bees and is also a haven for all kinds of bird-life.

Vizzer,

"Ash die-back also seems to have passed us by so far. We have about 7 ash trees of varying ages and all are in the best of health. It's certainly a story which has fallen out of the headlines since it first arrived in the British Isles about 6 years ago. But I'm not complacent and am ever watchful for any lesions on ours."


"ash"  I first thought at the "ash" from a sigaret (oops of course it is "cigarette" the same as in French), in Dutch "as", but it seems also to be a tree: our "es"...have you to know then from the context in English if it is our "as" or "es"?
And yes ash die-back: the same overhere:
https://www.tuinadvies.be/artikels/essenziekte_zieke_essen

And overhere they use "ash tree" for tools as the "tail"? (staart) of a shovel and all that kind...

And it seems you can't do anything against it. They recommend to plant the trees in small batches far from each other so that if one batch is affected...But the good news is as I read in another site: Some individual trees seems to be resistant and now they want to start from these trees to grow whole woods...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 20 Aug 2018, 21:14

@PaulRyckier wrote:
Cher Meles meles,

just entered the forum...
"About a month ago I had a Dutch family staying here and we got talking about gardens and plants, and they showed me a photo of their garden in Rotterdam where there was a prominent bush completely brown and stripped of all its leaves. Commenting on this they said that it was due to box tree moths (or rather their catapillars), a species that had arrived in Holland from East Asia about ten years ago and was now devastating all the box trees and hedges around where they lived. I said I’d never seen it here and went to check on a couple of small box trees along my drive. Both were in full leaf and good health with no sign of any insect/catapillar attack.

But yesterday I was passing through the village and was shocked to see that the long hedge bordering the kiddies play area was completely brown with the leaves all munched off or dead. Arriving home I again inspected the bushes along my drive plus a couple of others in the adjacent woodland, and these too were all brown and stripped of leaves. So it seems in just a few weeks the box tree moth has arrived here and made itself thoroughly at home."

Yes the same overhere, the Dutch are right...it was on TV here lately...not yet reached Bruges I suppose...had a bit difficulties with the "box tree" to find out that it was our "Buxus"....We have a lot of Buxus around our house and not yet affected by the caterpillars...

But are you sure that the box trees are not brown by the two heat periods of lately...in our garden some became brown, although I gave them each day some water...but now with the usual Belgian rainy weather, they turn all green again...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buxus



And we have also "taxus baccata" the one who planted it said...and it seems that there was also a disease  around but lucky it didn't affected ours...and it seems that it is good for cancer patients they told us...they even collected it in the containerpark (ordure belt?) for that purpose
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus_baccata

Medical[edit]









Certain compounds found in the bark of yew trees were discovered by Wall and Wani in 1967 to have efficacy as anti-cancer agents. The precursors of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (taxol) was later shown to be synthesized easily from extracts of the leaves of European yew,[41] which is a much more renewable source than the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) from which they were initially isolated. This ended a point of conflict in the early 1990s; many environmentalists, including Al Gore, had opposed the destructive harvesting of Pacific yew for paclitaxel cancer treatments. Docetaxel can then be obtained by semi-synthetic conversion from the precursors.




Hope that Caro has seen my contribution about the "avocado fights" in New Zealand on the Brexit thread (elephant in the room)
CARO WHERE ARE YOU?

Kind regards from Paul.

Meles meles and Vizzer,

today coincidentally a big panel at the garden center: de "buxus mot" is coming, how to protect against it. Ask inside.
The man said to me: now it is too late to spread something to make the males infertile, so that the females have no eggs, hence no caterpillars... now you have to spray two times each 20 days...with a bio insecticide...about 13 euro for a box (8-9 pounds? Not sure while the exchange rate changes so quickly)

And BTW: Some years ago trimming the hedge of my taxus baccata had some heart beat and strange feeling and now I understand:
"Toxicity[edit]
All parts of a yew plant are toxic to humans, due to taxine alkaloids, with the exception of the yew berries (however, their seeds are toxic). Additionally, male and monoecious yews in this genus release cytotoxic pollen, which can cause headaches, lethargy, aching joints, itching, and skin rashes; it is also a trigger for asthma.[20][21] These pollen grains are only 15 microns in size,[22] and can easily pass through most window screens.[20]
But each year again the trimming and never had it again...perhaps some resistance in my system?


Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sun 09 Sep 2018, 19:59

Further to my comments above about the Asiatic box tree moth ...



Just at the moment here they are almost reaching biblical plague proportions. Last night there were thousands of them in great clouds around the exterior lights, almost to the exclusion of all other types of moth, and they are everywhere in the house too! Since their grubs have already completely stripped the leaves from all the box tress in the area, there can't be anything for their larvae to eat .... so I hope they don't now switch to laying their eggs on another type of plant. The concensus amongst gardeners here seems to be not to cut the affected box plants back, but to just leave 'em be and with luck the plants should hopefully re-shoot next spring, provided they haven't been so weakened that they don't survive the winter.

Meanwhile I think I've just seen the first case of ash die-back in the belt of trees along the edge of my field. Sad


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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Sun 09 Sep 2018, 23:19

Meles meles,

how sad for you and for your French neighbourhood.
And as I found, it seems nothing is to do against it till now...
My memory of the use of ash tree is to make handles? (steel), but in my opinion "steel" in English is "stem" for shovels...but a "schop" in Dutch is in my opinion something like that...
https://www.deketelaere-bouw.be/aanbod/gereedschappen/niet-machinale-gereedschappen/grondwerk-reiniging-en-onderhoud


And a "steel" of a "schop" is something like that:
https://www.straatmakershop.nl/schopsteel-gebogen-atlas-130-cm

At least with that combination I worked from my 15 for making mortar for bricklaying and all...and that is the right equipment to do it...but as I see it now it don't seem nearly to exist anymore...right stems instead of bent ones...how can one work with that?...perhaps you have to go to specialized shops to find this equipment as the one I mentioned above for the shovel...
And when I was working with the bricklayers during vacations an older insider told me that you had to balance the complete shovel with bent stem on your finger and if you are right handed you have to turn the bent of the stem a very little bit to the right...and left hand the other way...
https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/native-trees/ash/
How we use ash
People have used ash timber for years. It is one of the toughest hardwoods and absorbs shocks without splintering. It is used for making tools and sport handles, including hammers, axes, spades, hockey sticks and oars. An attractive wood, it is also used for furniture. Ash coppices well, which traditionally provided wood for firewood and charcoal.


And it is not the first time we have diseases from abroad:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorado_potato_beetle
We had it start of the Fifties and I had 7 years old to take the beetles from our potato leaves...but even that didn't help...

And the Myxomatosis:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myxomatosis
We had it too in the Fifties...30 and more rabbits dead in one run...

I hope the Asiatic box tree moth will pass away as the other two...

PS. Until today I blamed the Australians for the myxomatosis and see now in the wiki that it was a bloody Frenchman...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 10 Sep 2018, 07:45

@PaulRyckier wrote:
 Ash coppices well, which traditionally provided wood for firewood and charcoal.

I burn a lot of ash in the fireplace in the main room - it's connected to a water reservoir so actually heats the whole house too via the radiators - and it does burn well, although not as hot as oak, hornbeam, walnut or beech. It also makes a lot of ash (the white powder residue - cendres): "ash makes a lot of ash" is an old English saying, so it was good for making lye which was used for degreasing wool and cleaning cooking pots etc. It will also burn when still green, ie when freshly cut, although obviously it's best to let it dry out for a season or so if it's to be used for heating/making charcoal.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 10 Sep 2018, 10:40

Going back a few years (well 1999) I spent a about 3 weeks in Lourdes which is in the Pyrenean foothills (considerably to the north of MM's part of the Pyrenees I think).  I read something about the death of a bear cub that had been re-introduced into the wild in the Pyrenees (again I don't think it happened near Lourdes).  Apparently it has been tried in the intervening 19 years and the powers that be are considering releasing a couple of females for the lonesome males [url=https://www.telegraph.co.uk › News]https://www.telegraph.co.uk › News[/url]  but it seems that one of the males has been annoying the local farmers though this is on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees (though I don't suppose bears recognise human boundaries).  https://www.theguardian.com/.../goiat-the-bear-may-be-expelled-from-pyrenees-over-...
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 10 Sep 2018, 20:15

Lady,

I put your link in google and got the complete link that I copied and pasted here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/22/goiat-the-bear-may-be-expelled-from-pyrenees-over-horse-killings
www.telegraph.co.uk
Lady I don't find it in the news of today, wasn't it the news of yesterday?

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 10 Sep 2018, 20:35

The news from the Telegraph was in the 22 March 2018 paper.  Sometimes copying a link seems to default to the current date (i.e. date of posting - or date on which the hyperlink is clicked) rather than the date from which the story was taken.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 10 Sep 2018, 22:36

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
The news from the Telegraph was in the 22 March 2018 paper.  Sometimes copying a link seems to default to the current date (i.e. date of posting - or date on which the hyperlink is clicked) rather than the date from which the story was taken.

Lady,

I found this on the internet:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/03/french-farmers-furious-call-mates-lonesome-pyrenean-bears/


We have here now the same with wolves (hmm three...and a female in that three) the goverment backs the environmentalists...and attention if you kill a wolf: an astronomical fee...and you risk to be killed by a jihadist environmentalist....

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PostSubject: Re: Introduced species and their habitats   Mon 10 Sep 2018, 23:03

@Meles meles wrote:
@PaulRyckier wrote:
 Ash coppices well, which traditionally provided wood for firewood and charcoal.

I burn a lot of ash in the fireplace in the main room - it's connected to a water reservoir so actually heats the whole house too via the radiators - and it does burn well, although not as hot as oak, hornbeam, walnut or beech. It also makes a lot of ash (the white powder residue - cendres): "ash makes a lot of ash" is an old English saying, so it was good for making lye which was used for degreasing wool and cleaning cooking pots etc. It will also burn when still green, ie when freshly cut, although obviously it's best to let it dry out for a season or so if it's to be used for heating/making charcoal.

Cher Meles meles,

that's the way to do it...a bit labour intensif, but you have two times an advantage...the heat of the healthy work of collecting and placing it in the fireplace and then the lovely hearth fire and the heat in the radiators. We have here the same system in rural areas, but mostly it is instead of a hearth with wood, a "mazout stove" (mazoutstoof)...
As I see it all from your descriptions it has to be a lovely place there in your neck of the woods, inviting to come to your B&B...

Kind regards from Paul.
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