By M. Power |
Green Builder (GB): How big an issue are invasive species?
Phyllis Windle (PW): Invasives already cost us well over $100 billion each year in resource losses. The Asian Longhorn Beetle, Emerald Ash Borers, and many others have found new pathways into this country because international trade has increased so much. The number of interceptions is so high that a lot of experts fear the system has already been overwhelmed.
GB: Meaning some of these creatures are still getting through?
PW: The Ash Borer already has triggered quarantines in a half dozen states. The Asian Longhorn Beetle , which destroys hardwoods, is as far north as Massachusetts. The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid—many people aren’t even aware of it—could quickly devastate forests in the Northeast. It’s much harder to control in northeast hemlock.
GB: Why aren’t people more concerned about this problem?
PW: We tend to look at the impacts of invasives as a separate issue, separate from the increase in international trade, separate from bigger environmental issues.
A senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Phyllis Windle is one of the nationís foremost authorities on invasive plants and insects. She holds a Ph.D. in Plant Ecology