(A J ale of iwo Women
Marion Stonemnan Douglas and Mlaijoric 1 larris Carr
Segment: Marjories sum up the threats of exotics in Florida
Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Marjorie Harris Carr. Videotaped in Islamorada,
Length of Segment: 00:04:35
Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.
Interviewer: "Are there other key environmental problems, besides population growth that you feel that
Florida will have in the future?"
M Carr: "Well, yes, that is I would think it would be a tragedy if we did not keep and increase an
awareness and appreciation of the natural heritage that we have, here in Florida. I think what I'm trying
to get at that I think there our natural systems that we have here....they could be replaced by exotic
collections of plants ..."
MSD: "They are."
M Carr: "Yes, and you'd still have greenery. I think that would be a great tragedy and I think that
would be one thing that we will have to watch, to protect these natural assemblages of plants and
MSD: "Well, we've got to protect it by getting rid, somehow, of the immediate plant enemies that are
menacing us so much. First the melaleuca, second the Brazilian pepper and then the Australian pine.
They are coming in at such a rate, particularly the melaleuca, that they are driving out native plants all
the way... between here and Palm Beach you see great..."
M Carr: "Oh it's terrible. Incredible!"
MSD: "It's incredible."
M Carr: "Nightmare"
MSD: "We're studying right now, the possibilities, of some way...you see you can eradicate the single
tree by chopping them down and using a herbicide, but how to eradicate masses of melaleuca is a great
problem, because you cut them down and they come up from the stump and the roots and also when
you cut them down, the seeds which are like fine pepper, enclosed in a heavy shell ...the shells open
with any disturbance to the tree, fire or chopping, and spread these peppery like seeds all over the area.
So, you get thousands of more little plants coming up. You can handle that in your own back yard by
ordinary grass cutting or burning, but out in the Big Cypress, where the menace is very bad. They're
coming in so thickly, there won't be any native plants left at all...and they of course can not even get a
narrow snake in between the melaleuca trees, when they really get going. We are faced with these
invasions of exotic plants from the...Australia most of them...brought in about seventy years ago, about
1912, I've found out, over here by Dr. Gifford and over on the west coast by Dr. Nelling. They had this
bright idea of writing to Australia and getting these horrible things. In Australia they have enemies. The
plant has its own plant enemies, but here they didn't. So, they took over...and are still...they're taking
over worse all the time."
Interviewer: "Well, is the loss of native vegetation and replacement by exotics a threat in Central and
MSD: "I think they are. I think the melaleuca...I don't know how far up the melaleuca has gone."
M Carr: "It got up to near Orlando, but that last frost whumped it. "
MSD: Yes, I think the frost tend to destroy these things...well it came from the warm parts of Australia"
M Carr: "Tropics."
MSD: "But for South Florida, they are very very bad."
Interviewer: "So, what would be the main threat, in Central and North Florida to the native
MSD: (speaking to M Carr): "Do you have Brazilian pepper up there or is that included?"
M Carr; "No, that won't grow up there either."
MSD: "What about Australian?"
M Carr: "It barely does. No. No."
MSD: "I think it's mostly corrected by the cold weather."
M Carr: "The cold. Yes. Well, for example to turn all of your hardwood hammocks into planted pine
trees, and we have to undistinguishablee)"
MSD: "Oh, like Taylor Covay." 
M Carr: "Yes. That's what I mean. A forest, a forest, a forest..."
MSD: "Commercial...for commercial purposes"
M Carr: "That's what's happened there, the vast destruction of..."
MSD: "The St. Joe Paper Company."
M Carr: "Well, a whole bunch of them."
M Carr: And, you know you mean you say, 'Well alright this is a form of agriculture. You clear this land
this forest and plant corn fields and soy beans okay okay. The thing is we must protect and keep some
good samples of the natural area and I must say again I think it's appalling that in our national forests
you're having a policy of planting of pine trees for commercial cutting and they're even planting them in
rows and that, to me, is very sad."
MSD: "It's tragic."
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