Friday, May 31, 2013

habitat ~ 05/31/13 ~ Hatton Canyon State Property

After I first visited Hatton Canyon back on February 4, 2011, I wasn't terribly impressed by the proliferation of non-native plants and haven't had a huge desire to return.  I do remember the auditory intensity of bird songs, which prompted a second worthwhile visit this past March 10. Unfortunately without accompanying photos, it didn't inspire me enough to break out of my winter blogging hiatus to write about the birds.  Then when Monterey County butterfly guy Chris Tenney and I were figuring out where to meet for the first time, he suggested Hatton.  Oh? Turns out this place is a butterfly hot spot.  So, while there are mostly invasive plants, like poison hemlock, nestled adjacent to rare native stands of Monterey pines, the fauna density is quite impressive.  It's amazing what a few short years can do to change my opinions. I was starting to get sucked into nativism, just shy of biological xenophobia, something that's been in the forefront of my consciousness lately.  Maybe it doesn't really matter, beyond the concerns of humans, if the thriving plants originated here or elsewhere?  The animals certainly don't seem to mind too much.  Maybe it's better to let nature run its course?


Imperfect and Tense said...

Non-native invasive species can be a problem if they out-compete things like the food plants for certain invertebrates. But where to draw the line? Here in the UK, the "Butterfly bush", Buddleia, is an absolute magnet for butterflies, but naturalists can put forth cogent arguments for not planting it due to the skewing effect it can have on our native invertebrate fauna.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Isn't that the question, where to draw the line? Ever since my gypsy moth study, I've been of the opinion that given enough time, nature will adapt the way it should. Humans are shortsighted and measure changes by the span of our own lives. I believe our attempts to undo our interference will 1) take incredible effort 2) only last temporarily against the larger forces of nature 3) will actually do even more damage by delaying or suppressing natural processes.

Imperfect and Tense said...

I'm not so sure about "adapt the way it should" because, as you infer, we make changes too quickly. However, Nature does and will adapt, so I guess we have to look at our actions as simply another input to the process of evolution.