[Taxacom] Propagation of bad sameAs statements or definitions

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Sep 10 18:05:13 CDT 2010


>"invasive [alien] species" really annoys me, since many of them are effectively 
>the same as the definition of "pest," or no different from "naturalised alien 
>species."

>I've tried for a biocentric definition of invasive as: "a colonizing species 
>which, in a particular area, causes a quantitative decline in biological 
>diversity in habitats it colonizes."

Yes, scientists tend to be rather bad at constructing definitions that aren't 
purely stipulative and procedural - they need to take some analytic philosophy 
courses rather badly!

your definition "a colonizing species which, in a particular area, causes a 
quantitative decline in biological diversity in habitats it colonizes" falls 
into the same trap as it merely fixes on one of many possible reasons why an 
invasive species might be unwanted. What about a species that annoys humans by 
causing itchy bites, or undermines the foundations of buildings? This has 
nothing to do with biological diversity, but I would still count these as 
invasive species - the only common factor being that they are unwanted.

So, what is the difference between "invasive species" and "pest species"? Not 
very much, but there is a subtle difference. An "invasive species" is a pest 
species which has a definite tendency to expand its (geographical) range - it 
takes work to prevent its spread. It is a species that we are trying to stop 
from spreading. But a pest species need not be invasive if it just stays put and 
shows no tendency to spread.

Stephen



________________________________
From: Frederick W. Schueler <bckcdb at istar.ca>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Sat, 11 September, 2010 2:07:40 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Propagation of bad sameAs statements or definitions

On 9/10/2010 2:28 AM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> well, I did seriously offer a definition of "invasive species", viz.
>
> an invasive species is one which has a definite tendency to expand its range
> into areas where it is unwanted
>
> Definitions which define them in terms of particular or general "negative
> effects" of the species are not good, because there are a great many
> possible particular effects and the general concept is not well-defined, 
unless
> you define it as an "unwanted effect", and then with a bit of simplification 
>you
> get my definition. Basically, it is invasive if border control wants to keep 
it
> out ...

* I've poked my oar into this one on the aliens list without converting 
anybody, but the anthropocentrism of all the widely used definitions of 
"invasive [alien] species" really annoys me, since many of them are 
effectively the same as the definition of "pest," or no different from 
"naturalised alien species."

I've tried for a biocentric definition of invasive as: "a colonizing 
species which, in a particular area, causes a quantitative decline in 
biological diversity in habitats it colonizes."

fred schueler
------------------------------------------------------------
          Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre - http://pinicola.ca/bmnhc.htm
now in the field on the Thirty Years Later Expedition -
http://fragileinheritance.org/projects/thirty/thirtyintro.htm
Daily Paintings - http://karstaddailypaintings.blogspot.com/
    RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
  on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
    (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca/
------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------


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