Intro to Invasive Species

© Alex Popovkin, Florula of Fazenda Rio do Negro, Bahia, Brazil, Bugwood.org

Invasive species are a harmful subset of non-native, introduced species that adversely affect native plants and animals, change how ecosystems work, carry diseases to wildlife, plants, or people, or cause other damage. Increasing globalization of our economy, with its extensive shipment of goods, brings an ever-increasing number of new invaders. In the United States alone, scientists estimate that about 7,000 non-native species of plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, arthropods, and mollusks are established. Those that are damaging cost taxpayers and landowners more than an estimated 100 billion dollars each year.

Our experts strive to prevent the introduction of harmful invasive species in the United States and, thus, to decrease their impacts on native ecosystems and biodiversity. We are working with colleagues on effective approaches to substantially reduce major pathways of invasive introductions through new programs to screen intentionally imported species (e.g., through the pet and nursery trades) and improved efforts to limit unintentional introductions (e.g., in the ballast water of ships and in packing materials, such as wooden crates).