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"Non-Native" Plants Are Usually No Worse than Others
an evolutionary perspective on the concept of native plants

Stephen Jay Gould on native plant superiority

doc-titleAn Evolutionary Perspective on Strengths, Fallacies, and Confusions in the Concept of Native Plants
quoteThe evolutionary fallacy in equating native with best adapted may be simply stated by specifying the essence of natural selection as a causal principle. As Darwin recognized so clearly, natural selection produces adaptation to changing local environments -- and that is all. The Darwinian mechanism includes no concept of general progress or universal betterment. ... For this reason, many native plants, evolved by natural selection as adaptive to their regions, fare poorly against introduced species that never experienced the local habitat. If natural selection produced optimality, this most common situation could never arise, for native forms would be "best" and would prevail in any competition against intruders. ... An enormous literature in evolutionary biology documents the various, and often peculiar, mechanisms whereby organisms achieve fortuitous transport as species spread to regions beyond their initial point of origin. ... "Natives," in short, are the species that happened to find their way (or evolve in situ), not the best conceivable for a spot. ... "Natives" are only those organisms that first happened to gain and keep a footing.
sourceHarvard paleontologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould