Living in Charlestown along Foster Cove, it can be overwhelming to know what from what, and I have discovered that I have lots of each! I have seen my neighbors hire landscapers to clear out “invasives” but they end up just clear-cutting everything. The invasives roar back saying “thanks for the trim!”
But as I — in the heat, covered in sunscreen, bug spray, long pants, long sleeves, and a huge wide brimmed hat — do hand and shovel combat battle against the Russian olive, bittersweet, loosestrife and others, it has occurred to me more than once that whether you believe in God or “nature,” neither makes mistakes. We humans are the ones who make mistakes.
These “invasives” existed in nature somewhere before they were brought here, many with some good intention in mind. We would do well to remember that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that invasives be planted intentionally or allowed to outcompete native, more ecologically sound, and desirable plants. But when I feel discouraged that I’m losing the battle, I realize that the reeds and Russian olive along my rock wall barrier to the pond may actually help protect my property and home from the rising water and erosion in general. When the “big wave” comes, the cover they provide for tree frogs, birds, and other wildlife may protect them. And those damn berries from bittersweet, and every leaf of every bush and tree even the Norway maples are soaking in water and CO2 and exchanging it for 02.
Maybe while climate change and rising sea levels wage a larger war on us, we should remember why “invasives” were brought here in the first place: to help prevent erosion or to have wood to build homes and furniture. Maybe we should leave those Norway maples to cool the planet and absorb CO2. Maybe future generations will need their wood.