Deck the halls...With invasive species?

Conservation Volunteers at the Deck the Halls event (Photo by Nick Tardiff)

Conservation Volunteers at the Deck the Halls event (Photo by Nick Tardiff)

As typical Canadian Decembers go, this wasn’t one of them. The landscape at the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Rice Lake Plains property was shrouded in fog, without a snowflake in sight. The volunteers’ task for the day was to remove...

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That friggin' phrag

Shoot of alien species of phragmites poking through (Photo by Bill Moses)

Shoot of alien species of phragmites poking through (Photo by Bill Moses)

Are you aware of the phragmites problem? We all know that at one time our native species thrived in a balanced ecosystem that is now being compromised by the rapid spread of some non-native plants. Phragmites australis (also known as common reed)...

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Something's Fishy: Ghosts of fishes past

A 60-day-old American paddlefish <i>(Polyodon spathula)</i> fry (Photo from Wiki Commons)

A 60-day-old American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) fry (Photo from Wiki Commons)

They’re there, lurking the depths of Canadian lakes and rivers, unseen by humans or other fishes. Ghosts of fishes extirpated or extinct from waters across Canada haunt other species and scientists alike. Their absence leaves an impression...

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Invasive species are a lot like...breakfast!

Maggie Cascadden demonstrates how BaDandelion muffins are made (Photo by NCC)

Maggie Cascadden demonstrates how BaDandelion muffins are made (Photo by NCC)

Weeds: every lawn, garden and even sidewalk seems to have them. They are pesky and stubborn, and have been known to cause severe frustration. A weed is classified as invasive when it travels 100 metres within 50 years, which is really fast...

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Can battling invasive species be a mistake? (Part One)

Himalayan balsam (Photo by Keith Williamson)

Himalayan balsam (Photo by Keith Williamson)

As a conservation organization, the Nature Conservancy of Canada spends a considerable amount of time and resources controlling invasive species. In some ways, this seems contradictory. Why would an organization tasked with conserving the natural...

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Can battling invasive species be a mistake? (Part Two)

Emerald ash borer adult (Photo by by U.S. Department of Agriculture)

Emerald ash borer adult (Photo by by U.S. Department of Agriculture)

In Part One, I discussed the prevalence of invasive species in contemporary ecosystems and questioned whether we should even spend time and resources battling them. I also discussed the "Tens Rule" in invasion biology, which suggests that only a...

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Liberating the Happy Valley Forest from invaders

Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

It was a covert ground-assault by a small group of dedicated resisters, led by Thomas Unrau of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, on an invader to the perhaps not-so-Happy Valley. I'd signed up to participate in a valiant effort to thwart the...

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Coming together to combat common reed (Phragmites australis)

Jill Crosthwaite, southwestern Ontario Region's Coordinator, Conservation Biology displaying height of common reed (Photo by NCC)

Jill Crosthwaite, southwestern Ontario Region's Coordinator, Conservation Biology displaying height of common reed (Photo by NCC)

This past January, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) hosted a workshop focused on the invasive plant, common reed, and its status and management, including regulatory and chemical constraints, ongoing control in Norfolk County, current best...

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The woodpecker bubble

Red-headed woodpecker (Photo by David Fast)

Red-headed woodpecker (Photo by David Fast)

Protected forests are the kingdom of the cavity-dwellers. This is where woodlands grow to an old-growth state, and where dead, damaged or otherwise wonderfully flawed trees take their rightful place in woodland ecology. As a result, nature...

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The elephant in the woods

Backus Woods, Ontario (Photo by NCC)

Backus Woods, Ontario (Photo by NCC)

Settled Southern Ontario still has magical places where you can experience the grandeur of wild nature. Backus Woods, just north of Lake Erie’s Long Point, is such a place. This is where forest cycles play out largely as nature intended....

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