Tuesday, June 01, 2010

My World Tuesday ~ Introduced Species

Bunchberry Dogwood (Cornus canadensis)
When I first arrived on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) I took a job as a research assistant with a crew that was working with introduced species.  I knew about introduced species but I was not aware of their impact on native species and especially on islands.
Fairyslipper (calypso bilbosa)
Islands often have rare or genic specific species which are found nowhere else in the world therefore making them vulnerable to extinction by invasive species
Visitors often comment on how beautiful the forests of Haida Gwaii are with all their moss however this is a result of introduced deer which dine on the understory.
The above photos show the difference between forests of Haida Gwaii on an island with deer (left) and on an island without deer (right). Photos courtesy of RGIS
Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Other destructive forces are introduced plants which are fast spreading and change the chemistry of the soil therefore killing off native plants and taking over.  Scotch broom was introduced by settlers in the early 20th Century.
BC Parks has a vigorous removal program but if individual property owners don't "buy in" the problem is an on-going one.
Wild Strawberry(Fragaria vesca)
The lands of Haida Gwaii are home to endemic species 
Grey beach peavine (L. littoralis)
 which have been used for centuries by First Nation peoples for food and  medicinal purposes.
Seashore Lupine (Lupine Littoralis)
With the lose of these plants due to man's carelessness by introducing animals and plants many of these unique plants have and will become extinct.
Early Blue Violet (Viola adunca)
It is important to know what you are planting in your gardens, they may look lovely but can change our world as we know it.
Western Bitter-Cress (Cardamine occidentalis)
The only plant in this series of photos that is introduced is the Scotch Broom, all the others are native to the islands.
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eileeninmd said...

Wow, the wildflowers are just beautiful. The fairyslipper is gorgeous! It must be a very special place, thanks for sharing.

Self Sagacity said...

Wow! Those pictures are wonderful to look at.

SandyCarlson said...

It's so great to visit here and learn the names of these beauties. Thanks so much for this beautiful post. What a difference a few deer make!

Ebie said...

I love the name Haida Gwaii. I am so amazed about the beauty all around you. The wildflowers are very pretty, first time that I laid eyes on some!
I enjoyed your blog very very much!

Gaelyn said...

Islands in particular are so fragile when non native species are introduced. I think scotchbroom must be everywhere by now. Eradication is so difficult.
The world it is a changing.
Great post.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Carolyn: They may not be native but you captured them beautifully. I didn't know the deer could do that.

Powell River Books said...

We are loaded with Scotch Broom in cleared areas here in Powell River. It is my understanding that it has spread from on a few plants imported to Victoria at the turn of the last century. I am assuming that in Haida Gwaii it was introduced separately. That's a long way for seeds to wash or float. - Margy

EG Wow said...

I have never seen a fairyslipper before. It's a WOW. I've heard of the Scotch broom that causing havoc in BC. We humans have made so many BIG mistakes, haven't we?

Janie said...

Your native wildflowers are beautiful!
Interesting to see how the deer have changed the forests.
We have a lot of problems with non-native invasive species here, but I can imagine the problem is much worse on an island.


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