SEBS Virtual Science Cafe: Frank Gallagher presents, “Native or Non-native plants: Novel or Nostalgia?”
While the process of change in both cultural and natural systems is inextricably connected due to our dependence upon natural resources, their rates of change differ considerably. While we tend to accept cultural change (begrudgingly), we are less open when it comes to natural systems. Our list of invasive species continuously grows while task force and strike teams, whose aim it is to control the “invasion,” scramble. We tend to forget that the North American continent for the past 65 million years has been a land of immigrants, or as Tim Flannery put it, “The Eternal Frontier”.
This discussion will focus on Novel Assemblages, mixtures of native and non-native species that function well. It will draw on research from an abandoned rail yard that has been left fallow for over 60 years in the interior section of Liberty State Park. It will question if our need to control non-native species grows out of nostalgic typologies captured in the romantic paintings of Albert Bierstadt or Thomas Cole or are truly scientific.
Frank Gallagher is the Environmental Planning Program Director and Associate Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Landscape Architecture.