Issues Concerning Invasive Species
When I think of invasive species my mind goes straight to the Gremlins movie. A cute little animal that was welcomed into an environment that it thrived in only to go wild and multiply. They eventually take over the entire community and could not be controlled. In this essay, I am going to first explain what invasive species are, how they become a problem, and what we can do to prevent their invasion.
The National Invasive Species Information Center defines an invasive species as per Executive Order 13112, an “invasive species” is a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and who’s introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm to human health (National Invasive Species Information Center). The National Wildlife Federation states, “an invasive species can be any kind of living organism such as an amphibian, plant, insect, fish, fungus, bacteria, or even an organism’s seeds or eggs.”
Human activities often spread the invasive species accidentally. Ships and boats can carry aquatic organisms from one place to another through sea travel. Insects sneak into imported shipping containers and wood products from around the world. Ornamental plants can even become a problem if they escape into the wild. Some people accidentally or intentionally release their pets into the wild and then they become an invasive species. Climate change has also caused invasive species in plants to move into new areas. Any of these living organisms can grow and reproduce rapidly, then spread aggressively. They can harm the environment quite quickly. The native species may not have evolved defenses to fight off the invasive species or the invasive species may not have any predators so the others cannot compete with it in the ecosystem. Some of the species can also carry disease.
Per the National Wildlife Federation, we can help prevent the spread of invasive species by only planting native plants in our gardens, regularly cleaning our boots, gear, boats, tires, and any other equipment we use outdoors to remove insects and plant parts that may spread invasive species to new places. When buying firewood, we should make sure to buy it within 30 miles of the area we plan to store or use it. Lastly, we should learn to identify invasive species in our area and report them to our county extension agent or local land manager if we sight them (National Wildlife Federation).