Lecture 23 Background

On climate change:
We know that the content of CO2 in the atmosphere is 375 parts per million. Apparently, the most survivable atmospheric CO2 content is 350 parts per million. 350.org is determined to draw attention to that fact and make sure a good plan for bringing it down to that survivable level or lower is formed at the Copenhagen Conference. They had done an International Day of Climate Change rally on October 24th. If you want to know more about them, here's a link to their site:
Feel free to add more background this and other threats!

What organizations are doing to address invasive plants
Regulation – Certain states (e.g., Connecticut, Massachusetts) have regulations and policies in place to prohibit/restrict invasive species in their jurisdictions. In Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources maintains the following list: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/web_189711_7.pdf.

Research and education - Several states and the federal government have invasive species councils aimed at researching, identifying and preventing invasive plants, e.g., the Michigan Invasive Plant Council (http://invasiveplantsmi.org/) and the National Invasive Species Council (http://www.invasivespecies.gov/). The Michigan Invasive Plant Council uses the Michigan Plant Invasiveness Assessment System to evaluate potentially invasive plants, and maintains a list of species identified as invasive in Michigan.

Prevention and Partnership – Non-profit organizations like The Nature Conservancy (http://www.nature.org/initiatives/invasivespecies/) have initiatives aimed at partnering with the horticultural and landscape architecture industries to prevent the use and sale of invasive plants. In addition to being involved in the landmark St. Louis Declaration, which includes principles for framing the invasive plants problem and the associated Voluntary Codes of Conduct to aid decision-making around invasive plants, The Nature Conservancy worked with Meijer to remove two invasive plant species from the company’s stores. The initiative also introduced special tags to denote recommended non-invasive alternatives at Meijer stores. (http://www.meijer.com/content/content_leftnav_manual.jsp?pageName=pr_nature_conservancy)

Mitigation – Eradicating plant invasions is a costly and difficult endeavor. A research paper by Cornell University estimates that the economic costs associated with invasive plants in the U.S. is $120 billion (source: Pimentel, D., R. Zuniga & D. Morrison. 2005. Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecological Economics 52: 273-288.). Whatever the cost, all sectors (public, private, government) are involved in the mitigation of the invasive plants problem.

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