Unintended Ecological Experiment Part 2

It has been few months since I wrote the first blog post on (unintended) small-scale ecological experiment that took place in the front lawn at my house.  Just to recall from the first post, eradication plan was performed to prevent further invasion of the weed plants, followed by planting grass seeds within the fragmented zone for the regeneration of the grass patches.  Photos were taken in a week of November for comparison. Let’s have a look.

As you can see, the majority of the invading plants were eradicated.  The regeneration of the grass patches were observed, which started to fill the fragmented zone.  Not all of the weed plants were eradicated, but it was enough for grass plants to return and re-colonize.  Based on these observations, the eradication plan was a success.  Here are the comparison of invaded site and treated site.

But is it okay to use herbicides?  The term “weed” by definition is a plant which is undesirable in a human-controlled environment.  Weed control in particularly important in agriculture, and the methods include burn control, and chemical treatment such as herbicides.  Since most of the homes cannot set the lawn on fire, they use herbicides to control the weed outbreak.  However, many scientists concluded that the chemicals in herbicides can have significant negative effects on the surrounding environments as well as on human health. You can easily search for the negative impacts of herbicides on the internet.  It is an example of a trade-off for attempting to control a system which is very dynamic.  Development of effective eco-friendly weed-killers would be the best course of action to prevent this trade-off, but until then, many people will continue to use toxic but effective herbicides as long as there are people who appreciate the scenery of a weed-free grass lawn.



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