When I was a youth many roads and streets were lined by towering American elm trees, but during the 1950s and ‘60s an invasive disease called Dutch Elm Disease (DED) began killing them. Scientists believe that the fungus that causes DED originally came from the Himalayas. It travelled to Europe from the Dutch East Indies in the late 1800s. In the 1930s, the disease spread to North America on wooden crates made with infected elm wood. Today it’s rare to find a native elm still alive and growing.
In 2007, the initial news media and study claims about manmade global warming versus natural climate change debates caught the public’s attention. And that debate remains ongoing. In 2008 US voters went to the polls and voted for change, but now some are having second thoughts as they live the changes being made. However, far less publicized was what is happening to our indigenous ecosystems as literally hoards of invasives have declared war on many of them. In the process we are very apt to see major changes in what we’re accustomed to seeing in our outdoor world.