What are the impacts of invasive species?

What are the impacts of invasive species?

  • Degrade wildlife habitat
  • Outcompete native plant and animals
  • Reduce biodiversity and cause the extinction of endangered species
  • Cause economic damage – worldwide, the estimated damage from invasive species totals more than $1.4 trillion, this is 5% of the global economy
  • Reduce crop quality and yield
  • Reduce forage availability for grazing animals
  • Increase wildfire hazard
  • Interfere with regeneration of forests
  • Increase soil erosion
  • Threaten drinking water
  • Impact recreational activities

What are the impacts of aquatic invasive species?

Aquatic invasive species have similar impacts to terrestrial invasive species, but there are some additional impacts of invasives in aquatic ecosystems:

  • Alter stream bank vegetation vital to fish spawning habitat and water quality
  • Displace native plant and fish species
  • Degrade water quality, including lowering levels of dissolved oxygen in water that can lead to fish mortality
  • Increase boat repair and maintenance costs, and foul fishing lines and nets
  • Impede recreation opportunities including swimming, diving and fishing
  • Very costly or impossible to control or eradicate

You can make a difference!!!

  • Learn to recognize and identify invasive species
  • Clean, Drain, Dry all equipment, boats, motor, trailer, bait buckets and pets of aquatic debris before leaving. Never transport plants, sediment or live bait among bodies of water.
  • Do not share or purchase species that are invasive.
  • Properly dispose of aquatic invasive plants (dry out, bag and landfill or incinerate).
  • Check out the Take Action section of our website for more information on how YOU can stop the spread of invasive species!

A few examples of how invasive species can modify an ecosystem:

Habitat Modification 

Aquatic invasive species like Yellow Flag Iris can change the way that water flows through a system. Species like Scotch Broom may grow in dense thickets, overtaking sensitive ecosystems like grasslands.

Compete with native species for resources and space

Invasive species do not have a niche in the ecosystems that they invade. Instead, they compete with native species for resources like water, sunlight or room to grow. This can result in a decrease in populations of native species.

Predation: invasive species can EAT native species!

Invasive American bullfrogs are known to eat native frogs, turtles and birds. Again, this can result in a decrease in population. Some of the species at risk of being eaten by bullfrogs are already on the endangered species list, like the Northern Leopard Frog.

Pathogens can be spread by invasive species

Some pathogens, like White-Nose Syndrome (which affects bats) are invasive, and can cause illness or death in the native species that they affect. Invasive plants can act as alternative hosts for plant pathogens which are already present in an ecosystem, allowing these pathogens to spread more readily.