[Taxacom] Propagation of bad sameAs statements or definitions

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Sep 10 18:47:44 CDT 2010

on second thoughts Fred, perhaps your proposed definition:

"a colonizing species which, in a particular area, causes a quantitative decline 
in biological diversity in habitats it colonizes."

does capture something that mine doesn't which people tend to mean when they 
talk about "invasive species", namely that the negative effects must have 
something to do with a decrease in biodiversity, HOWEVER, two points:

(1) looks like species released for biological control might count as "invasive 
species" by your definition, since they do cause a 'quantitative decline in 
biological diversity in habitats they colonize'. But such species are not 
unwanted, so don't count as invasives by my definition.

(2) that aside, what factors make my definition "better" than yours, or vice 
versa?? If your definition is accepted, then we don't have a term for what I am 
calling "invasive species", i.e. basically pest species that are moving around 
as opposed to staying put, but this is arguably an important concept to have a 
term for. On the other hand, if my definition is accepted, then we don't have a 
term for pest species which tend to decrease (native, wanted) biodiversity in 
areas that they colonize, as opposed to those which might have other negative 
effects like causing itchy bites or undermining building foundations. The 
question is: do we need a special term for "invasive species" in your more 
restricted sense, or can we just deal with them in the same way as for species 
with other negative effects? I guess it comes down to whether we have dedicated 
teams of people who focus just on control/study of pest species which reduce 
biodiversity ... they might like a special term to express what they do ...


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, 
> you define it as an "unwanted effect", and then with a bit of simplification 
> get my definition. Basically, it is invasive if border control wants to keep 
> 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 -
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/


Taxacom Mailing List
Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu

The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these 

(1) http://taxacom.markmail.org

Or (2) a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  
your search terms here


More information about the Taxacom mailing list