Eminent naturalist Richard Mabey has compared the stance of conservationists towards 'alien' and 'invasive' plants and animals to the actions of Nazis in mid 20th century Europe!
Richard Mabey's comments could be laughed off if he weren't the highly respected author of works like Flora Britannica
. Coming from such an eminent naturalist, his comments have caused quite a storm. He criticises efforts to eradicate plants like Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica
) and giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum
), and animals such as the ruddy duck (Oxyura Jamaicensis
), saying that the threats they pose are overstated and that the language used to discuss them (e.g. 'invasive' and 'alien') is akin to the language of Nazism. Conservationists have hit back, arguing that if we are ambivalent about ecological changes wrought by plants and animals which have been introduced unnaturally
by man, they biodiversity will suffer.
Many of the problem species, particularly the plants, were originally introduced into gardens. While no one is arguing that we should not use non-native species in the garden, most naturalists and gardeners are aware that we need to guard against adverse impacts of introduced species in the wider environment.