Friday, December 11, 2015

Opportunity cost (1)

What's the cost of getting the species wrong? There are several but what often gets overlooked is the "opportunity cost". That's the cost of what you could have had all that time you had the wrong thing.

Here's an example. These Illawarra Flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolia) in Howtree Place, Floreat, have been in this hot, wide footpath for years and, as you can see, have done very little.

Imagine if you could reverse the tape, go back ten years and plant Plane or something. How would the street look now? And even if you admitted defeat and made the switch tomorrow, you would have to wait another ten years for something decent to happen. Thats 20 years the community has had no amenity here because the wrong species was chosen in the first place. That's opportunity cost and its real. And it only increases the longer you leave your bad choices in the ground.

In critical locations like this we can't afford to "try things". We have to get it right. Planting a species that will definitely thrive is by far the most important consideration over native, exotic etc. If it's not going to thrive, it doesn't matter how many other boxes it ticks, it's a dud.

Howtree Place, Floreat (click to enlarge)

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