The good old days of pure native pastures are not coming back. Likewise, we won’t be stuck in this lanky invasive age forever either. Culture, like landscape, is moving into a balanced adulthood. When we glorify the past we miss the opportunity of a more beautiful future.
We can let the love we have for plants, whatever they may be, be our guide in managing for an even better expression of the land. People are already co-creating better land. (for examples see my blog) I see examples of how our culture and invasive plants have left the growing stage. Invasive goutweed after mineralizing and running pigs through it is some of the best soil on my farm. As a culture, we are now spending more energy than ever understanding our connection the Earth. We are finding ways to not only save the planet but how to make it healthier than before. Invasives and culture are becoming adults together.
Invasives are one way for the return of natives. Invasives build soil carbon and a better soil mineral balance. Have you seen where the ramps, trilliums, bloodwort, toad lilies grow? Have you tested that soil? There aren’t invasives because invasives can’t handle the balance that makes nativ plants thrive.
Invasives are very high performing plants. They are what we see multiplying along our roadways, in our regrowth forests and waterways. A plant is high performing because it can gift 60% of all of its created energy into the soil in the form of root sugars (carbon) to feed microbes. The huge masses of invasives we see are leaving even huger masses of carbon in the soil year after year. Soil carbon holds air, water, minerals and life. If you have ever walked through most of our forests you would be kind to say that they are thin soiled. They have invasives because of their condition. Our soils are low in minerals and black rich soil. It is beyond the scope of this article to illuminate why, once again visit my blog. Invasives can exist in fringe soil environments and over time they actively make them better.
When we focus on land health, what it is and how do we manage for it, the Native / Invasive stalemate dissolves. We are left with a question: which plants make our land healthier and how? Invasives don’t grow where our natives flourish. Our natives have broader nutritional needs. A land health focus also dissolves the rift between farming and conservation. We can create incentives for land improvement because they benefit all of us. Instead of focusing on the ‘otherness’ of plants we focus on the metrics for land health. When we understand how beautiful land expresses itself we will realize we have been in the presence of a gift all this time; invasive plants.
Again, beyond the scope of article are those land health metrics, our sacred land needs. Real briefly, they might be flora and fauna diversity, soil carbon, soil mineral balance, air quality, water quality, magnetism and light. Yes, contrary to what our e-books don’t teach, proper magnetism is a biological necessity.
Basically, it comes down to us needing both plants. Invasive plants are currently the high performing plants in our worn out areas. Natives are essential to perform in areas of greater health, ie repopulate invasive successional land. Invasives are true pioneers. The ground is better because of their footsteps. When we understand this we can appreciate the gift they offer worn out land.
At this point I offer full disclosure: I run a company called Balanced Land Health. It is in my interest that you become aware of land health. It is also in all of our interest! In fact, we can manage land so that more land health for you is also more for me! Our sacred land needs, our natural resources, are boundary-less and can be grown to benefit all!
Round-up is great to understand what not to do. Round-up is a mineral chelator. It grabs minerals and the best science says it may let them go but only to grab again. It is the most abundant man-made chemical in the environment. Round-up doesn’t kill plants. It makes them so weak by grabbing their minerals (and the soil minerals around them) that the soil pathogen fusarium attacks them. So for a problem of imbalance, invasives thriving, we spray something that makes the imbalance worse. I just hope there is some wild super invasive weed that can exist in these worse conditions people trying to save invasives are creating.
Land health determines plant expression. By managing for those qualities that make land healthy we get more native plants. We can “weed” invasives by doing what it takes them years to do: improve the health of the land. There is hope. People have done most of the legwork already. They tirelessly studied what makes land healthy. Our incentive is that such measures increase the abundance of our common places. We can only afford to. Amazingly, each sacred land need: soil, water, air, diversity, magnetism has had great thinkers do much of the illumination already. Therefore, culturally we know how to co-create abundance for more and more natural expression. We only have to begin! This is awfully similar to our new view of how invasives work. Our phenomenal modern growth may leave the world better off!