Our Opinion: Nature likes diversity

Monday, May 8, 2006

Decades ago, Dutch elm disease had a devastating effect on the appearance of communities throughout the country. Streets that were lined on both sides by the stately trees became barren, only now recovering with the growth of full size trees of different species.

Now, the emerald ash borer is threatening to do the same thing to ash trees. Like elm, ash is a stately tree that has been chosen to line boulevards of many communities.

Although lining streets with a single species of tree may give an impressive look, the Dutch elm beetle and now the emerald ash borer have shown us that this is a bad idea.

As far as we know, nowhere in Cherokee County, has this practice of single species planting been carried out. Those who plan future developments and owners of sizable private areas of landscaped property should incorporate the idea of diversity in selecting plant species.

A host-specific insect pest will be less likely to find a vulnerable tree when it is isolated from others of its species and if it does, the effect will be less calamitous.

Nature prefers a diverse mixture of plant species.