Department of Natural Resources
species are those organisms introduced into habitats where they
are not native. Invasive exotic species are organisms not native
to a region, and whose introduction causes economic or environmental
harm or harm to human health. In their natural habitats, these organisms
developed stable populations and complex relationships with other
species. When removed from the predators, parasites, diseases and
competitors that have kept their numbers in check, species introduced
into new habitats often overrun their new home and crowd out native
species. Once established, exotic species can rarely be eliminated.
are connected to most exotic species introductions. As people developed
modes of transportation that allowed rapid and easy movement over long
distances, they began to travel to new areas. These settlers frequently
took species of plants and animals with them, either accidentally or intentionally.
Some introductions did unexpected damage. Some had positive outcomes (food
and horticultural crops). In North America, the list of invasive exotic
species is long and includes such organisms as the gypsy moth, zebra mussel,
Japanese beetle, kudzu, multiflora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and purple
loosestrife. The harm from these organisms ranges from being serious pests
of forests and crops to invaders of landscapes, capable of displacing
native species and reducing biological diversity. Often, invasive species
become ingrained in the environment before eradication efforts begin.
Land managers can only try to keep them in check, as eliminating them
becomes nearly impossible.
you do to stop the spread of exotic species? Here are some suggestions.
to identify invasive exotic species. Find out who to contact to report
new invasive species. Get help controlling invasive species on your property.
release plants or animals into the environment.
3. Use plants
native to your region for landscaping.
bring foreign plants, animals, fruits or soils into this country without
having them inspected by quarantine officials.
yourself and others about exotic species.
zebra mussels: inspect all boat surfaces which have been in contact with
water; and wash your boat, motor and trailer with hot water after using
them, preferably at a car wash.
7. Get involved
in volunteer efforts to remove invasive species from your area.