The Native Debate Heats Up: Doug Tallamy Takes on The New York Times OpEd

While I try to avoid link-posting on this blog, this interview in Garden Rant with scientist Douglas Tallamy is too good to pass.  Tallamy rocked the gardening world a few years ago when he published Bringing Nature Home, a book based on scientific studies that show exotic plants support exponentially less wildlife than native plants.  Tallamy, a professor and chair of the entomology and wildlife ecology department at the University of Delaware, believes that biodiversity is an essential, non-renewable natural resource that people are forcing to extinction.

Tallamy addresses some of the backlash against native plant advocacy, addressing in particular the article in The New York Time's OpEd "Mother Nature's Melting Pot" that compares negative feelings towards exotic invasive plants to xenophobia.  The Times article likens the native plant movement to the anti-immigration movement:

While the vanguard of the anti-immigrant crusand is found among the likes of the Minutemen and the Tea Party, the native species movement is led by environmentalists, conservationists and gardeners.  Despite cultural and political differences, both are motivated--in Margaret Thatcher's infamous phrase--by the fear of being swamped by aliens.

Ouch!  The article is filled with quite a bit of incendiary statements, loose associations, and faulty analogies.  Tallamy offers a great, reasoned, scientific perspective to counter much of the article.  Here is a link to the Garden Rant post and another to the original interview.
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