This issue focuses on invasive species, one of the top threats to biodiversity (others include habitat loss, development and climate change). Most people agree that invasives are a threat to the natural world, but some people think we are blowing the situation out of proportion or not recognizing their positive attributes.
The cover story, Invasive Species: Villains, Saints or Something in Between, focuses on some of the controversies surrounding invasives. The point is not to tell you how to feel about invasive species, but to give you the information and allow you to make your own informed decision.
I spend a lot of my time educating colleagues and the public about invasive plants and the threats they pose to the natural world, so I fall into the camp of, “they can be very destructive, so let's do something about them,” but I can see the reasoning behind those that don't want to vilify these introduced species. With so many threats impacting our natural resources we will need to prioritize those risks and find the correct balance between hands-off and shovel-ready.
Other invasives-related topics covered in this issue include the deadly infection, WNS (white-nose syndrome), that is killing off our bats; the numerous invasive insects and plant diseases that make forestry a challenging profession; one family's struggle to remove invasive plants from their property; and a tale of Pennsylvania species becoming invasive overseas.
The problem of invasive species may be exacerbated by rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns brought on by climate change, so this issue also focuses on some climate-related topics. In Our Changing Climate, Greg Czarnecki talks about the skepticism that some people have for climate change. They ask, “Where's the proof?”
Well, Greg provides a variety of examples from nature that show that the climate is indeed changing. In his A Word from the Wild, Greg goes on to talk about climate change adaptation and the important role WRCP is playing in that burgeoning field.
I hope you enjoy this summer issue of Keystone Wild!Notes and will consider contributing photos, story ideas and letters. Thanks to Mark and Cathy Klingler for submitting their moth coloring page for the last issue. Keep 'em coming!