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Imagine you were an ent, a tree person, and the day is going just fine, until.... TERMITES!!

You panic, stumbling through the glen as you try to scratch the annoying, horrifying and perhaps even deadly infestation out of your hide. Sitting in the stream to waterlog yourself, hoping they drown, you imagine a world WITHOUT termites.


What sorts of animals would a tree person decide are just much too alive for their liking? We can presume the ents has some limited magic, allowing them to manipulate the local food chain, perhaps having giant venus flytraps eat pesky animals. And they decide they're going to attempt to wipe out the ones that are "bad."

Termites and other insects which eat trees seem an obvious one which a forest would want to get rid of, don't they? Then again, as Dutch joked, that's going to leave a lot of dead wood. How about pigs, which tend to cause ecological damage?

The trick is, when you take something out of the ecosystem, even if it seems bad... there can be consequences. The ents might find that many of their plans to improve the forest nearly destroy it, similar to human efforts at tweaking ecosystems.

For example, if they brought in a ton of insect eating birds to get rid of annoying bugs, they'd also eat a lot of the pollinating insects like bees.

So, if you were a tree person, and had the power to wipe out various species of animals... which ones would you remove? Termites, pigs, deer, rats?

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    $\begingroup$ Imagine a world without termites: "And here, young sapling, is the corpse of your great-great-great grandfather. No not that stump, the one over there to the side. No, not that one either... Argh! if only there were a way to get rid of old, dead wood!" $\endgroup$ – PcMan Jan 4 at 2:00
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about both animals and insects, or just animals? Also, since the help center states that to avoid closure you shouldn't ask a question where every answer has equal value, are you only asking for an off-topic list, or are you asking which animal and/or insect would be most desirable for the ents to remove (most damaging to the ents) and yet having the least impact on the ecology? What are the metrics for a best answer? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 4 at 3:00
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    $\begingroup$ "Honey, I have found yet another stash of bees under John's bed. I think it's time for you to have a talk with him". $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 4 at 6:33
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    $\begingroup$ So what is the purpose of removing the species? If the question is about maintaining the ecosystem of the forest - probably none. If the question is about personal convenience of the tree-people - wiping out all an every animal is not out of the questions. If the question is "which animal would YOU wipe out?" - stingrays, they cost us Steve after all. Does it affect forests? probably not - is it supposed to? I think we need more details and a metric for choosing an answer. $\endgroup$ – JANXOL Jan 4 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ An ecosystem that would most suit the Ents is too broad. You're asking for a massive list of "we don't need this" creatures. Thousands of creatures can be removed from an ecosystem without destroying the ecosystem and the more removed the better for the Ents. Broad is bad on Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jan 4 at 17:54
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The answer to this quesiton is largely dependant on the culture of your Ents. For instance, if the Ents share the human industrial complex of the last 200 or so years, the answer is anything that doesn't pollenate and also includes anything that even slightly inconveniences trees.

However, that's not particularly interesting, so let's look at a more ecologically minded tree people:

Predators

Looking at societies around the globe, most of them work to prevent predators. This doesn't always mean exterminating them. Sometimes it means putting up barriers to keep them out.

Termites

You mention termites yourself and then discarded your own answer, but I'd disagree. Termites are not the only method of wood decomposition, so even eco-conscious Ents would likely work to get rid of them the same way humans try to get rid of lice. It's also worth noting that not all species of termites eat live trees, so they might try to transplant certain types of termites that don't eat live trees in order to help out compete the ones that are a nuisance.

This may even mirror the domestication of dogs, and they may even attempt to breed into the termites desirable traits.

Caterpillars & Other Leaf-eating Insects

Leaf-eating insects are not more vital to an ecosystem from the perspective of a tree than they are harmful to trees. A tree may need pollinating insects to survive, but it can do without the ones that eat its leaves. All of these will be purged, and damn the consequences.

American Beavers

This brings us to the ultimate pest. The worst of the worst. Termites and leaf eating insects are small and unseen and they'll kill you slowly, but beavers..... Beavers killed my whole family. I grew up an orphan because those dam-making beavers just couldn't bear to use already fallen wood! We tried to beg for our lives, but they wouldn't listen. Insects don't know any better... how could they? But Beavers are smart. You can tell just by looking at them. They know what they're doing. They're pure evil. Beavers are a blight on this world and we have to wipe them out!

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  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, I'd expect ents to dislike herbivores more than carnivores, but ones that only eat grass are less an issue, and ones that will learn to leave you along if you can smack them around, or even just run away, might not be an issue. OTOH, they might develop a sort of symbioses, e.g. deer eating all the pesky, itchy little sprouts lower on the trunk, sort of like a human shaving his/her legs. Insects, though... $\endgroup$ – Matthew Jan 4 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ Good answer, thanks Tain. Good point about raising competitive termites. To clarify, I wasn't saying they wouldn't get rid of termites, but left it open. As Matt says, predators wouldn't bother the trees, and things like deer are OK for spreading fertilizer, if they don't overgraze. $\endgroup$ – Johnny Jan 4 at 19:54

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