“Invasive species are one of the most significant threats to native ecosystems in the nation” (DCNR Invasive Species Management Plan, 2011). An invasive species is defined as “a species which is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” Invasive species that have the potential to impact the economy and environment are best managed by preventing their presence in a habitat. When prevention is no longer an option, “eradicating, suppressing, reducing, or managing invasive species populations, preventing the spread of invasive species and taking steps such as restoration of native species and habitats to reduce the effects of invasive species and to prevent further invasions” is necessary (Clinton, 1999).
Often these exotic plants were planted for specific reasons; however, once they grow outside of their intended location, they become problematic. Invasive species have the capacity to easily grow, adapt, and encompass large areas resulting in difficulty of management. These species decrease plant biodiversity and therefore are a large threat to the integrity of the ecosystems. They regularly out-compete other species for moisture, sunlight, nutrients, and space, thus contributing to the decline of 42% of U.S. endangered and threatened species (USDA, 2014). Over 100 million acres in the United States are affected by invasive plant species (SC-EPPC, 2011).
This website is a great source for those who would like to learn more about how invasive species work as well as some of the common suspects.
Alban, T. et al. 2011. “Invasive Species Management Plan.” Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Clinton, W. J. 1999. Executive Order 13112--Invasive Species. Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, 35(5), 185.
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2011. Invasive Plant Pest Species of South Carolina
USDA Forest Service. 2014. "Invasive Plants." N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.