All Wrapped up in Kudzu & Other Ecological Disasters
The American history teacher
Humans have had a profound impact on the environment. We have destroyed species for food. We have destroyed homes and habitats of numerous species because of our needs for space. Some of the most interesting and also devastating impacts have been unintended outcomes of our desire to enhance or control our environment. Numerous species of plants and animals have been introduced in many, if not all, countries around the world in an attempt to secure a better life for humans. To provide a familiar
... provide a familiar food supply to those moving to a new place, domestic plants and animals were imported from one country into another country. Many of these domestic organisms were deliberately released into the wild while others escaped. Many introduced species have had a major impact on their new environments and have eliminated or now threaten native plants and animals. Also, some introduced species have entered other countries accidentally and have gone undetected for years. Perhaps they were stowaways on ships or planes, or insects on fruits unnoticed by packers. This article includes an activity that you can do in your classroom today to reinforce the concept of and problems involved with introduced, nonnative or alien species. Following are seven vignettes about seven different plant and animal species that have become, or currently are, near ecological disasters. These species include the brown tree snake in Guam, the cane toad in Australia, coyotes in North Carolina, goats in the Galapagos Islands, the Kiskadee flycatcher in Bermuda, kudzu vine in the eastern United States, and pigs in Hawaii.