Azara Blog: Non-native species are allegedly a threat

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Date published: 2010/12/15

The BBC says:

Invasive non-native species such as the grey squirrel and Japanese knotweed cost the British economy £1.7bn a year, a report has suggested.

Researchers said crops, ecosystems and livelihoods could be damaged when such species took hold.

The study found that the rabbit was the most economically damaging species, followed by Japanese knotweed.

The research was conducted for Defra, the Scottish government and the Welsh Assembly Government.
...
Other damaging species included the rat, the house mouse and the mink, and plants such as the rhododendron and giant hogweed.

Needless to say, any species that is an economic threat needs to be taken seriously. On the other hand, this report looks like the usual botanic racism that exists amongst "conservationists". First of all, what is and is not deemed to be a "native" species is fairly arbitrary. Secondly, non-native species (however you want to define them) contribute billions and billions of pounds to the British economy. And thirdly, native species (however you want to define them) could also easily enough be found that damage the British economy.

Imagine if the report had said that "non-native" humans (however they were classified) were causing 1.7 billion pounds of criminal damage a year. Such a report would be correctly deemed as racist in intent, because, although perhaps factually true, it would have completely ignored that "non-natives" also contribute billions and billions to the economy and "natives" were also causing billions of pounds of criminal damage, not to mention that who is deemed to be "native" is indeed as arbitrary with humans as it is with non-human species.

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