Plant BioInvasion threaten future crops

Preface.  Our industrial agriculture is utterly dependent on fossil fuels, which require 10 calories of energy for every food calorie produced.  Invasive weeds will make growing food even harder when fossils are gone, and since pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are also made out of fossils, there won’t be an easy way to get rid of invasive plants despite old-fashioned weeding.  Here are just a few examples.

Alice Friedemann  author of “Life After Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Energy”, 2021, Springer; “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer, Barriers to Making Algal Biofuels, and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Collapse Chronicles, Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report


Katz, B. 2019. Monster Invasive Tumbleweed Is Outgrowing Its Parent Species. Scientists once thought the hybrid Salsola ryanii would not be able to survive the hot, dry conditions of the West. They were wrong. Smithsonian.

Tumbleweed are invasive plants that can wreak havoc upon native ecosystems, agriculture and property. They compete with crops, can disturb oil and gas pads, spread forest fires, and even cause traffic accidents.

A new tumbleweed species, Salsola ryanii, can grow 6 feet high, is resistant to glyphosate, and is a hybrid of two other invasive tumbleweeds, which may help it become even more invasive in the future since it grows more vigorously than either of its parents.  Each tumbleweed produces over 100,000 seeds a year.

More invasive plants:

Doherty T (2020) State forestry commission offering assistance to eradicate invasive weed. As if kudzu wasn’t bad enough, now southeast Mississippi has been invaded by an assassin weed. Imperata cylindrica, more commonly known as cogongrass or Japanese blood grass, chokes out native species for control of soil nutrients. Its roots excrete chemicals that deter growth of competing vegetation. The unwelcome gate-crasher can be spread vegetatively or by the wind. It is not suitable as forage for livestock or for erosion control. “Cogongrass negatively affects pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, recreation, native plants, fire behavior and site management costs,” MFC state forester Russell Bozeman said in a release. “Its ability to rapidly spread and displace desirable vegetation makes it particularly dangerous to native ecosystems.”

Apr 23, 2002 Caspian Environment Struggles As Nations Jockey Over Energy Riches.  ABC news.

Scott Dogget. Dec 28, 2004 In a chokehold: California’s native landscape is losing ground as aggressive imports run wild.   Los Angeles Times.

Aug 26, 2005  Non-native Seaweed Threatens Hawaiian Species. National Academy of Sciences.

Carrie Madren. July 15, 2011. A Wild, Weedy Scourge: Fast Spreading Cogongrass Threatens Forests in the U.S. South.  The federal government is spending millions to combat a nasty plant that is spreading like wildfire.  Scientific American.

Aquatic and Invasive plants website, University of Florida

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2 Responses to Plant BioInvasion threaten future crops

  1. Weogo says:

    Hi Alice,

    “which provide 10 calories of energy for every food calorie produced.”

    Did you mean:
    “which require 10 calories of energy for every food calorie produced.” ?

    It appears that Wild Garlic (Allium vineale) is becoming an issue here in the southeast USA.

    Thanks and good health, Weogo

  2. David Higham says:

    You shouldn’t have changed your sentence to cater for the illiterate .Alice.
    The word’which’ refers in this instance to the words’fossil fuels’. The sentence you originally had in place was correct. Industrial agriculture
    requires the energy input of fossil fuels . Fossil fuels supply or provide that energy.