20 April 2009


Florida now has more exotic lizard species than there are natives in the entire Southeast [United States]. On a single tree you could conceivably find plant and animals from six continents, including parrots from South America, mynah birds and Old World climbing ferns from Asia, vervet monkeys from Africa, ladybird beetles from Australia, and feral cats from Europe, via Africa and Asia. In some cases, the recent immigrants would be more genetically diverse than their cousins back home. The state's ecology is a kind of urban legend come true -- the old alligator flushed down the toilet story repeated a thousand times with a thousand species.

Some find this all thrilling. Florida has become an open-air zoo, richer i species than ever before. To others, its the harbinger of a new and depressingly undifferentiated age, when the old biological borders begin to fade and every place starts to look like every other. Ecologists have even given it a name: the Homogecene.
-- from Swamp Things by Burkhard Bilger

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