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for people who care about the West

Hidden costs


While the serious potential economic (and other) costs of genetically engineered/genetically modified plants escaping into natural and agricultural landscapes (“Little Weed, Big Problem,” HCN, 6/25/18) are only beginning to be realized, they as yet pale in comparison to the massive and well-documented costs of the myriad non-genetically engineered/genetically modified plants that have escaped to invade managed and wildland ecosystems, with estimates running into the hundreds of billions of dollars. The West has been particularly hard hit, a topic HCN has covered repeatedly. Yet efforts to prevent new arrivals are still few and far between. I am reminded of the couple who fly separate commercial airplanes to avoid orphaning their children in a plane crash, yet drive together in their car, a vastly more risky behavior. 

Truman P. Young, professor
and restoration ecologist 
Davis, California