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Unleashing An Epidemic To Kill The Tumbleweeds In The American West (PopSci)

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posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 05:49 PM

U.S. Agricultural Research Service scientists have applied to release exotic Eurasian fungi to kill invasive tumbleweeds in the American West. Dana Berner wants to start an epidemic among tumbleweeds. Berner is a pathologist with the U.S. Agricultural Research Service who studies the diseases that afflict plants. One of his projects has been a search for something that's able to infect and kill the iconic, spiny, rolling weed.

Popular Science Link

This article reminds me of how cattle were brought to Australia in the 1800's and to improve pasture land they imported beetles from Africa to better process the dung and improve the land for grazing. The beetles took a liking to other vegetation and crops, so the solution to deal with the beetles was to import cane toads from Hawaii.

Cane Toads

The cane toads started eating everything in sight, except the beetles. Through every stage of the toad's life it is poisonousness, so nothing eats cane toads, and animals that do attempt to make a meal of them get sick and die. So to try and stop the decimation caused by the thing they brought in to stop the decimation, they've come up with a solution.

Government to introduce 22,000 Black Mambas to help eradicate cane toads

The Black Mamba, a snake native to northern Africa is among the most venomous, fastest and aggressive in the world with a bite that can kill a human in 13 minutes. Mr Matevellio said the jury was still out on whether the Black Mamba will hunt the cane toads, “Currently, there is no evidence that these snakes hunt cane toads, so this is just a trial. The introduction begins on the 29th of January and Council has told residents to be cautious when walking around their yards and homes. Council has also instructed residents to keep pets locked up inside until further notice.

I'm not sure what kills these venomous snakes, but Australia will probably be looking for it soon.

Introducing something into an environment it has never been in before has often ended in disaster. Intentionally spreading a fungus from the other side of the globe to control tumbleweeds in the United States seems foolish, to say the least. We know the harm invasive species cause, is no one learning from our past mistakes?
edit on 25/9/2014 by anxietydisorder because: spelling

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 05:51 PM
a reply to: anxietydisorder

So THIS is how the zombie apocalypse starts.

I was wondering. . . . .

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 05:54 PM
I like my tumble weeds leave them alone.

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 06:37 PM
a reply to: thesaneone

I've always liked them too, that was one of the things that prompted me to post a thread about their demise. I did notice that they are an invasive species to the US though. They came in with a shipment of flax seeds from Russia or Asia sometime in the 1800's, and were quick to set up shop in their new home.

I don't know how much of a problem they are for farmers, or if they grow in the middle of crops. They always seem to be out in scrub land that not much else will grow on.

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 06:46 PM
There are 10-12 different plants that make "tumble weeds". All the tumble weeds are is the dead plant that breaks off and blows away.

The plants help anchor the soil from erosion from wind and water.

So they are going to kill the plants?

This seems so counter productive to be killing plants that have a definite purpose to get rid of something that hurts nothing.

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 06:55 PM
I was wondering what is so bad with them (after seeing this thread of course...)

I apologize for using:

Some ruderal species that disperse as tumbleweeds are serious weeds that significantly promote wind erosion in open regions. Their effects are particularly harmful to dry-land agricultural operations where the outside application of additional moisture not practicable. One study showed that a single Russian Thistle can remove up to 167 liters (44 gallons) of water from the soil in competition with a wheat crop. The amount of water removed from fallow land more subject to erosion would be even more damaging

I am guessing that they plants are not paying the government for using its water.

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 07:02 PM
Wasn't agent orange a product of some sort of weed control experiment?

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 07:05 PM
If they get rid of the tumble weeds then what are they going to use to portray the atmosphere of a bad joke?

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 07:20 PM
a reply to: JHumm

Yes and no. Agent Orange was not only a herbicide, it worked as a total defoliant, killing crops, trees, shrubs, and pretty much any plant life. Then it attacked the people and animals causing well documented birth defects. It's makeup was from chemicals used in agriculture, but Agent Orange was never intended for agricultural use, it's particular design was always intended for warfare.

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 07:37 PM
What!?! Texas with no tumbleweeds? Roy Rogers would spin in his grave.

posted on Sep, 25 2014 @ 09:05 PM
Yeah. The whole 'get one exotic species to get rid of another exotic species' has a dubious history at best.

I find it hard to believe the experts at USDA want to try this. Oh...wait...

posted on Sep, 26 2014 @ 07:59 AM
This scenario is way too typical of most of the solutions the government comes up with. Cause a problem with lax or non existent laws, then introduce more problems as the fix. Even before they introduce the fix, they know the potential for greater problems and are already making the consequences the responsibility of the general population.

So introduce another invasive species to control the invasive species, but you'll be damned if you transport your fishing boat to different bodies of water without cleaning off the invisible Zebra mussel larvae form the hull or removing the non native seaweeds. Same thing for transporting firewood from the Ash borer infected trees. They screw up things with there half baked solutions and make it everyone's problem by imposing new laws that make it your fault now.

Screw you government, you created these problems and make them worse with your so called solutions, then put the blame on the public - so typical it hurts. You do the studies, you make the rules, you make new laws against the common people and enforce it on them, but not your big business buddies, the government just looks the other way or gives them a little slap on the wrist for endangering the public at large. Ultimately the new revenue stream from forcing these laws on the innocent population works out for them anyways, so who really cares about all the problems their solutions end up causing.

posted on Sep, 26 2014 @ 08:03 AM

originally posted by: thesaneone
I like my tumble weeds leave them alone.

What will they feed the North American woolly mammoth when they clone them back to the world of the living?

edit on 26-9-2014 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 26 2014 @ 01:28 PM
a reply to: MichiganSwampBuck

You make some very salient points, and a star for backing up the reason I posted this thread.

I don't know if they still do this, but every time I crossed into California from Oregon there was a check point looking for citrus fruit. We would usually just stop and eat any oranges we had before crossing, but they were trying to stop the introduction of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly that was already in California.

I understand banning the import of citrus fruit to an area that grows citrus fruit, but these government check points were useless. All these people in uniforms, the special lanes, booths, and infrastructure, just to stop every vehicle and have you to give them your oranges. They didn't make you wash your hands, or vacuum out your car, and really, you could just say you didn't have any fruit and get a wave through.

I often wondered about the expense put into a program like that, and if they understood that the Mediterranean Fruit Fly could actually fly right around this silly make work program they had put in place to stop them. A simple sign at the border and a trash bin would have been just as effective for those honest enough to obey the law and discard their oranges before entering California.

But, I suppose your tax dollars need to be spent on something, even if it is for the fruitless pursuit of a fruit fly.

edit on 26/9/2014 by anxietydisorder because: spelling and syntax

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