Botany Plant Paper

Topics: Invasive species, Introduced species, Genetic pollution Pages: 4 (1202 words) Published: May 26, 2012
Since our country was first colonized, thousands of foreign plants species have established themselves in the U.S. Many of these species such as crop plants are beneficial while others such as most ornamental plants are harmless amenities. At the same time, some 15 percent of these plants have become invaders, causing widespread problems that can prove serious and exceedingly costly damage. They can devastate farms and forests, impede waterways, foul lakes and ponds, affect human health, and invade natural areas and replace native species. Introduced species cause disasters that one cannot imagine. It is not surprising that the spread of fire-adapted, exotic plants that burn easily has increased the amount of wild fires. But who would once have guessed that, in 1936, the town of Bandon, Oregon would be destroyed and eleven citizens killed by a fire propagated by gorse, a highly flammable plant introduced, seventy years earlier, from Europe. Even dense, flammable plants such as the Australian melaleuca, the so-called Australian pine, Asian cogon grass, and Brazilian pepper, introduced for roadside planting in Florida, have become costly hazards because of water loss through increased transpiration, increased fires, and blocked vision. The problem is so severe that the Florida Department of Transportation is removing 27,000 Australian pines along the Florida Turnpike. Australian Melaleuca, which is increasing its range in south Florida by some 35 acres each day, replaces cypress and other native plants and provides poorer habitat for numerous animals. In many regions in and near the Everglades, it forms vast, dense monocultures where no other plant can grow. Other plants like the Asian salt-cedar and Russian olive are introduced plants that have formed new forests or replaced native plants along many rivers in the West, to the detriment of numerous bird species. Red mangrove from Florida, planted in Oahu in 1902, has spread to fill many formerly-open...
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