invasive species

Invasive species as an economic resource: Lake Victoria's water hyacinths

Invasive species as an economic resource: Lake Victoria's water hyacinths

Those of us in the developed world may have trouble wrapping our heads around the threats posed by invasive plant species. Sure, those massive patches of kudzu, for instance, aren’t particularly attractive, but we’re generally removed from direct effects on biodiversity.

Not so in places like Kenya. Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest body of fresh water, serves nearby population’s water needs, and provides fish for food. These people are feeling the direct effects of an invasive species: water hyacinths, native to South America, have infested the lake, and created a whole host of problems.

Sundance environmental films: the natural environment

Sundance environmental films: the natural environment

They’re big! They’re ugly! And they might give you warts! They’re cane toads… in 3D! Mark Lewis’ CANE TOADS: THE CONQUEST, which premieres at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, isn’t your typical nature documentary. This follow-up to 1988′s CANE TOADS: AN UNNATURAL HISTORY portrays the “horror” of an invasive species with a heavy dose of comedy, but still provides a provocative illustration of the ecological damage a non-native “invader” can wreak. Imported to Australia in the 1930s to deal with pests decimating the Queensland sugar crop, cane toads represent “Australia’s most notorious environmental blunder”: they didn’t eat the Greyback Cane Beetles, but did multiply like crazy…