Chelsea Green Publishing

Beyond the War on Invasive Species

Pages:272 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603585637
Pub. Date July 03, 2015
eBook: 9781603585644
Pub. Date June 17, 2015

Beyond the War on Invasive Species

A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration

By Tao Orion
Foreword by David Holmgren

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
July 03, 2015


Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
June 17, 2015

$22.95 $18.36

Invasive species are everywhere, from forests and prairies to mountaintops and river mouths. Their rampant nature and sheer numbers appear to overtake fragile native species and forever change the ecosystems that they depend on. Concerns that invasive species represent significant threats to global biodiversity and ecological integrity permeate conversations from schoolrooms to board rooms, and concerned citizens grapple with how to rapidly and efficiently manage their populations. These worries have culminated in an ongoing “war on invasive species,” where the arsenal is stocked with bulldozers, chainsaws, and herbicides put to the task of their immediate eradication. In Hawaii, mangrove trees (Avicennia spp.) are sprayed with glyphosate and left to decompose on the sandy shorelines where they grow, and in Washington, helicopters apply the herbicide Imazapyr to smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) growing in estuaries. The “war on invasive species” is in full swing, but given the scope of such potentially dangerous and ecologically degrading eradication practices, it is necessary to question the very nature of the battle. 

Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers a much-needed alternative perspective on invasive species and the best practices for their management based on a holistic, permaculture-inspired framework. Utilizing the latest research and thinking on the changing nature of ecological systems, Beyond the War on Invasive Species closely examines the factors that are largely missing from the common conceptions of invasive species, including how the colliding effects of climate change, habitat destruction, and changes in land use and management contribute to their proliferation. Beyond the War on Invasive Species demonstrates that there is more to the story of invasive species than is commonly conceived, and offers ways of understanding their presence and ecosystem effects in order to make more ecologically responsible choices in land restoration and biodiversity conservation that address the root of the invasion phenomenon. The choices we make on a daily basis—the ways we procure food, shelter, water, medicine, and transportation—are the major drivers of contemporary changes in ecosystem structure and function; therefore, deep and long-lasting ecological restoration outcomes will come not just from eliminating invasive species, but through conscientious redesign of these production systems.



"Emphasizing a holistic use of what is present in the landscape, rather than what managers presume should be there, Orion (Oregon State Univ.) delves into the somewhat controversial field of invasive ecology, using both plant and animal examples in ecosystem restoration.  She thoughtfully discusses the ethics of restoring function to ecosystems and looks at species migrations and movements in a broader context than would most land managers having conversations on landscape scales.  She also points out many examples in which understanding the roles and relationships of problem species could lead to multiple solutions for ecosystem health and society.  A permaculture perspective is not widely seen in restoration science; however, Orion calls for managers and scientists to recognize destructive patterns, especially with changing climate, habitat shifts, and society's attitudes toward conservation.  This thought-provoking book is an interesting read for anyone dealing with natural resources or agricultural sciences who aspires to be an environmental steward of a healthier planet. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners.”

Library Journal, Starred Review-

"Here is a brilliant, alternative way of dealing with nonnative, invasive species. Oregon State University permaculturist Orion’s emphasis is on plants, and her survey of relevant literature is a virtuoso incorporation of books, journals, electronic resources, and personal communications, written in commendable expository prose. In the face of overwhelming political correctness, which dictates that invasive species should be eliminated, the author offers ways to exploit and adapt to them in addition to extolling the virtues some of the species exhibit. As an instructor, Orion teaches ways to manage ecosystems with an eye to long-term results, free of herbicides and destructive attempts to remove species seen as undesirable. She pays special attention to the behaviors of ‘primitive' societies in relation to their surroundings. In her view, pre-Columbian America was already far from pristine; it underwent many changes wrought by Native Americans, especially through fire. This thoughtful, controversial, and well-documented book is guaranteed to infuriate many and to provoke us into rethinking our attitudes about what is natural and best for the land. With essays such as 'The Myth of Wilderness,' the reader is challenged to confront revolutionary ideas about our landscapes. VERDICT: Ideal for all interested in natural history, agriculture, chemicals, climate change, ecology, and anthropology.” 


"Ecosystem restoration, broadly defined as reinstating native flora and fauna by controlling invasive species, is a noble goal. But in the case of plants, it is often achieved through the use of harsh pesticides. This irony is not lost on botanist Orion, who encourages fellow environmental professionals to factor in the larger picture and “turn on the macroscope” to meet desired end goals. Systematically pointing out avenues for improvement in our approach to restoration, from consuming more local foods to changing how we work with “pristine” nature, Orion provides us with a practical worksheet that takes the permaculture view, a holistic way of looking at habitat. This slender volume might be too “textbookish” to be accessible to the lay reader but Orion’s reminders that the very definition of “native” is in flux (a process exacerbated by climate change) and her eco-friendly suggestions about what to do with “unwanted” species should be essential reading for all. Plenty of real-world instances of invasive flora and fauna (e.g., kudzu, zebra mussels) make the case effectively.”

“Some of our most productive and tasty plants in the permaculture landscape are vilified as invasive weeds that need controlling. This is a mindset that also promotes a delineation between conservation and agriculture. My personal response is to cultivate fewer conventional annual vegetables and grow and eat as many of these weeds as is appropriate, creating an extensive, diverse, and resilient forage system in my own backyard. It is time to stop putting land management into boxes and create wildlife habitats and food in stacked systems.

"Tao Orion explains how to take advantage of the vigor of ‘invasive’ edible and useful exotics and harvest them. This is how to bring ecosystems back into balance. This is adaptive permaculture thinking at the broad-scale level. Chelsea Green has produced yet another pioneering book, demonstrating how permaculture is way ahead of conventional land-management practices.”--Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture magazine, cofounder of The Sustainability Centre in the UK, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

“An interesting and valuable contribution to the ongoing refutation of invasive species ideology. Detailed and wide-ranging, Orion extends and deepens several analyses of invasionism, and offers several interesting new perspectives. She points to holistic systems management as an alternative to the current war on invasives. Land managers and invasionists would do well to give it a careful read.”--D.I. Theodoropoulos, author of Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience

Beyond the War on Invasive Species creates an essential pathway for deeper care of the Earth. The holistic perspective of invasives is shared through deep experience and thoughtfulness and ultimately leads us to a greater and more aligned role in restoration of our home’s ecosystems in these changing times. This book offers a critical role in civilization’s evolution and highlights actions that recognize deeper values that benefit our society as a whole.”--Katrina Blair, author of The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival

“In her fascinating and highly readable book, Beyond the War on Invasive Species, author Tao Orion points out the shortcomings of our current approach toward landscape restoration and invasive species. Rather than seeing these exotic plants and animals simply as invaders that need to be eradicated, she argues, we should recognize the beneficial role they play in the environment and the many essential services they could provide to human beings. “Embracing rampancy,” as Orion exuberantly puts it, turns the perceived problem of invasive species into practical solutions that also allow us to make peace with both the land and ourselves.”--Larry Korn, author of One-Straw Revolutionary: The Philosophy and Work of Masanobu Fukuoka

“This book brings much-needed balance to the overheated debate about so-called invasive species. Tao Orion’s meticulously researched yet engaging work shows that the true culprits are nearly always human-caused disturbance and development, and that species shifts are a symptom, not a cause, of this habitat destruction. Beyond the War on Invasive Species is an important book that offers a path away from unsuccessful restoration efforts—based on poor science and policy—and toward new, ecologically sound programs for building and preserving biodiversity.”--Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture and The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience

Beyond the War on Invasive Species is part of a new, much more nuanced conversation about ‘invasive’ species that is taking place in science, agriculture, and land management. It provides an analysis of the new science that looks for ecosystem function as well as harm from newly arrived species, looks at species migration in the context of climate change, and broadens our conversation to look at these organisms in the context of the human ecological footprint. Orion offers land management guidelines, based in permaculture design process, that help to chart a new way forward in our new land of novel ecosystems.”--Eric Toensmeier, author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables

“Tao Orion has brought together personal experience, careful study, and visionary thinking to turn us toward becoming useful people of place. Her exploration widens the narrow concept of invasion (so often repeated but seldom carefully thought through) and elucidates the trouble of short sightedness. We are not threatened by aliens, but rather we are turning our backs on the big picture.”--Tom Ward, author of Greenward, Ho! Herbal Home Remedies and cofounder of Siskiyou Permaculture

“A gathering body of evidence against the scale of chemical interventions in both agriculture and wild nature is fueling a battle of geopolitical proportions. In the process of asking the questions about how best to restore nature, Orion exposes a deep ethical corruption at the heart of both ecological science and the environmental movement.”--David Holmgren, from the Foreword

Beyond the War on Invasive Species is a devastating exposé of the military industrial invasive species complex and a sorely needed and impeccably researched volume that should become one of many as we recover from self-destructive attempts to eradicate parts of nature instead of acting with an understanding of the whole.”--Ben Falk, author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead and founder of Whole Systems Design


Tao Orion

Tao Orion is a permaculture designer, teacher, homesteader, and mother living in the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon. She teaches permaculture design at Oregon State University and at Aprovecho, a 40-acre nonprofit sustainable-living educational organization. Tao consults on holistic farm, forest, and restoration planning through Resilience Permaculture Design, LLC. She holds a degree in agroecology and sustainable agriculture from UC Santa Cruz, and her interest in restoration was piqued when studying botany, wildcrafting, and herbalism at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, Oregon. She has a keen interest in integrating the disciplines of organic agriculture, sustainable land-use planning, ethnobotany, and ecosystem restoration in order to create beneficial social, economic, and ecological outcomes. When she is not writing, she is busy keeping up with her toddler and wrangling a diverse array of plants and animals on her 6.5-acre homestead, Viriditas Farm.


Genetic Roulette

Genetic Roulette

By Jeffrey M. Smith

Never-before-seen evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the U.S. population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems identified in humans, pets. livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.

Monsanto's strong-arm tactics, the FDA's fraudulent policies, and how the USDA ignores a growing health emergency are also laid bare. This sometimes shocking film may change your diet, help you protect your family, and accelerate the consumer tipping point against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A film not to be missed.

Also includes the bonus DVD Seeds of Freedom (28 min.) narrated by Jeremy Irons, and produced by the Gaia Foundation and African Biodiversity Network. This landmark film shows how the story of seed at the hands of multinationals has become one of loss, control, dependence, and debt. Also: two talks by Jeffrey M. Smith and twelve public-service announcements.

Available in: DVD

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Genetic Roulette

Jeffrey M. Smith, Jeremy Irons, Lisa Oz, Micah Salaberrios

DVD $19.95

The Chelsea Green Reader

The Chelsea Green Reader

Chelsea Green, the Vermont-based independent publisher, has always had a nose for authors and subjects that are way ahead of the cultural curve, as is evident in this new anthology celebrating the company’s first thirty years in publishing.

The more than one hundred books represented in this collection reflect the many distinct areas in which we have published–from literature and memoirs to progressive politics, to highly practical books on green building, organic gardening and farming, food and health, and related subjects–all of which reflect our underlying philosophy: "The politics and practice of sustainable living." The Chelsea Green Reader offers a glimpse into our wide-ranging list of books and authors and to the important ideas that they express. Interesting and worth reading in their own right, the individual passages when taken as a whole trace the evolution of a highly successful small publisher–something that is almost an oxymoron in these days of corporate buyouts and multinational book groups.
From the beginning, Chelsea Green's books were nationally recognized, garnering positive reviews, accolades, and awards. We’ve published four New York Times bestsellers, and our books have set the standard for in-depth, how-to books that remain relevant years–often decades–beyond their original publication date.

"Chelsea Green was born from a single seed: the beauty of craft. Craft in writing and editing, in a story well told, or a thesis superbly expressed," writes cofounder and publisher emeritus Ian Baldwin in the book's foreword. Today, craft continues to inform all aspects of our work–design, illustration, production, sales, promotion, and beyond. It has even informed our business model: In 2012, Chelsea Green became an employee-owned company.

With the rise of the Internet, new media platforms, and a constantly shifting bookselling landscape, the future of publishing is anything but predictable. But if Chelsea Green's books prove anything, it is that, despite these challenges, there remains a hunger for new and important ideas and authors, and for the permanence and craftsmanship of the printed word. Today our ongoing mission is stronger than ever, as we launch into our next thirty years of publishing excellence.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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The Chelsea Green Reader

Ben Watson, Ian Baldwin

Paperback $15.00

The Prime Origin of Cancer

The Prime Origin of Cancer

By Travis Christofferson

Updated and Expanded Edition, formerly titled "Tripping Over the Truth"

A masterful synchronization of history and cutting-edge science shines new light on humanities darkest diagnosis.

In the wake of the Cancer Genome Atlas project's failure to provide a legible roadmap to a cure for cancer, science writer Travis Christofferson illuminates a promising blend of old and new perspectives on the disease. The Prime Origin of Cancer follows the story of cancer’s proposed metabolic origin from the vaunted halls of the German scientific golden age to modern laboratories around the world. The reader is taken on a journey through time and science that results in an unlikely connecting of the dots with profound therapeutic implications.

Transporting us on a rich narrative of humanity’s struggle to understand the cellular events that conspire to form malignancy, The Prime Origin of Cancer reads like a detective novel, full of twists and cover-ups, blind-alleys and striking moments of discovery by men and women with uncommon vision, grit, and fortitude. Ultimately, Christofferson arrives at a conclusion that challenges everything we thought we knew about the disease, suggesting the reason for the failed war against cancer stems from a flawed paradigm that categorizes cancer as an exclusively genetic disease.

For anyone affected by this terrifying disease and the physicians who struggle to treat it, this book provides a fresh and hopeful perspective. It explores the new and exciting non-toxic therapies born from the emerging metabolic theory of cancer. These therapies may one day prove to be a turning point in the struggle against our ancient enemy. We are shown how the metabolic theory redraws the battle map, directing researchers to approach cancer treatment from a different angle, framing it more like a gentle rehabilitation rather than all-out combat. In a sharp departure from the current “targeted” revolution occurring in cancer pharmaceuticals, the metabolic therapies highlighted have one striking feature that sets them apart—the potential to treat all types of cancer because they exploit the one weakness that is common to every cancer cell: dysfunctional metabolism.

With contributions from Thomas Seyfried, PhD, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease; Miriam Kalamian, EdM, MS, CNS, author of The Ketogenic Diet for Cancer; and Beth Zupec Kania consultant nutritionist of The Charlie Foundation.

Available in: Paperback

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The Prime Origin of Cancer

Travis Christofferson, Dominic D'Agostino

Paperback $24.95

The Greened House Effect

The Greened House Effect

By Jeff Wilson

With greater public awareness of the need for energy independence, the issue of how we can make our existing homes more resource efficient is becoming ever more critical. Residential buildings make up a large fraction of our energy needs, largely due to heating and air-conditioning. So it's no longer enough to simply do the small stuff, like switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, or turning down the thermostat at night.

In The Greened-House Effect, author Jeff Wilson brings his twenty-five years of construction experience and knowledge of home building to bear on making our current houses cleaner, greener, and healthier. Think of a deep-energy retrofit (DER) as a "home makeover" - one that represents a significant investment, but that saves money from the get-go by capturing the energy you "drop on the ground" every month, every year, through inefficiency, poor design, or simply living in a typical older home.

Using his own family's DER of their 1942 home as a prime example, Wilson weaves a readable narrative at a practical, hammer-and-nail level. He presents the solutions to our building and energy problems, making them seem possible for average homeowners and small contractors by offering the right set of information, skills, and materials.

More technical information is presented in sidebars and graphs, and numerous color photos illustrate the process, including:

  • Testing the energy efficiency of your home and learning where improvements need to be made
  • Issues of local building codes and regulations
  • Financing and paying for a DER
  • Major components of the DER, such as roofs, exterior walls, basements, and home systems

Wilson's building experience, along with his lifelong passion for energy issues, all come together to form an inspirational, can-do approach to making our neighborhood, our community, our nation, and our world a better place - one home at a time.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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The Greened House Effect

Jeff Wilson

Paperback $29.95