Quirks & Quarks

Why Invasive Species Aren't All Bad

An ecologist makes the controversial case that we've overstated the dangers of invasive species.
Purple Loosestrife in the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area near Cornwall Ontario (copyright Saffron Blaze, cc-by-sa-3.0)
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Invasive species are often near the top of the list when it comes to threats to the environment.

We've all seen headlines about the explosive spread of razor-sharp Zebra mussels, huge new populations of voracious lake-invading Asian carp, or forest-destroying alien insects.

Professor Ken Thompson's book Where do Camels Belong? (Greystone Books)
 But our panic about invasive species might be a major mistake, according to ecologist Professor Ken Thompson, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield in England. 

Professor Thompson thinks there is good evidence to suggest that the plants and animals we often vilify as invasive species only rarely threaten ecosystems, and that our fight against them often does more damage than the invader might have caused in the first place.

He explores this idea in his new book, Where Do Camels Belong - Why Invasive Species Aren't All Bad