I’ve been doing a ton of reading this year – one of the few New Year’s Resolutions that I have ever followed through on in my entire lifetime. I found this book on the shelf of a used book store in Columbus and it was on my “I might want to read it” list. For $3, I couldn’t pass it up.
Not a bad read, quite entertaining actually. The author does a great job of illustrating why Americans should be concerned about invasive species, but he gives some flawed suggestions for how to deal with them. The solutions he suggests are good in theory, perhaps perfect in a black and white world with no shades of gray. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. Creating a market for and placing economic/food value on invasive species to encourage exploitation, subsequent population reduction, range contraction, and eventual extirpation, it sounds like a win-win-win-win proposition. Truth is, people found out that feral hogs are good to eat, fun to hunt, and hunters will pay to access land or property to hunt them. What happened? People moved pigs around the United States to try and get in on the action. Currently, a few states have outlawed feral pig hunting unilaterally. The impetus is that if you remove the incentive and opportunity for people to hunt them and spread them around, then the agencies can more effectively do the job of removing animals and putting a dent in the population. Of course, wildlife management is rarely a pure science, and almost always has an art component to it. In states where feral pig populations are still expanding, this approach has been met with success thus far. His proposals for success are just a little too catch-all and a little too cut and dry, but perhaps it just because of my occupation that I know more of the complexities of the situation to critique it so much.
What Jackson does really well is bring awareness to a number of species that are either cool to have around (such as iguanas) or simply overlooked by the common citizen (such as invasive snails) – neither of which detracts from the actual harm the organisms are bringing to their environment. Following him on his adventures to conquer and consume over a dozen invasive species really is an enjoyable read.
Easy reading, good entertainment value, catchy writing style – I’d recommend it to anyone considering picking it up.