If you just look at the particular ecosystems around pollinators, and around food webs, seed dispersal and other isolated networks, you miss the point. Looking at multiple ecological networks, you find that weeds that common sense farm management tells you to pull up by the roots, like thistles, buttercups and clover are vital links that make all the systems hold together. Somehow, I think this is important and a vital element. Pollinator webs; bees, birds, etc. are crucial but fragile and relatively easily disrupted, but keeping the right weed can help them be more resilient.Farm weeds have crucial role in sustainable agriculture

In each isolated system, you might like for a particular environmental marker; in the Swannanoa River, you want to see Stone Flies, because they can’t tolerate toxins, and thus you know the stream is clean if you see them, and you don’t want to see red worms, which thrive in dirty rivers.

This research on interlocking systems shows you need to look further; Interlocking network analysis across a total farm is the only way to get the real picture. I can’t stop marveling at that fact. It makes me want to learn more about indigenous science and land management; stuff that’s worked in a particular place for 5,000 years.

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