Species

Invasives

Act to preserve our native species and the critical habitats they call home.

Our Take

Unwanted visitors are setting up camp in our local landscapes. What can we do to lend a hand to the natives?

Educate Yourself

Quick Facts

1/3

1/3 of all invasive species in the past 200 years have been since 1970 and shows no signs of slowing down.[6]

42%

42% of threatened or endangered species are at risk due to invasive species. [7]

2050

2050 is when half of the world’s population could be at risk of mosquito-borne diseases (Zika Virus, Dengue Fever) [8]

1/2

1/2 of the poisonous plants in the eastern US in non-agricultural areas are not native plants and many are considered invasives (and that’s not even including cropland!) [9]

What’s happening

Invasive species are any species (plant, animal, seed or even spores) not native to where they’ve landed. Generally an invasive species spreads quickly and aggressively. This can have a big impact on the ecosystem it’s been introduced to. The many cycles and systems in a habitat are in place to create balance between all the living things in that ecosystem. When an invasive species is introduced, it can upset the natural balance and lead to unintended consequences. A 2017 study in the journal Nature Communications found that over one third of all introductions in the past 200 years occurred after 1970 and the rate of introductions is showing no sign of slowing down.

The more we travel, and the more our economies are interdependent, the more invasive species are able to hitchhike to another place. Areas of our economy like horticulture, aquaculture, agriculture, tourism and commerce are all ports of entry for our uninvited guests. Insects can hide in lumber, pallets and crates and cause massive destruction, like the notorious emerald ash borer. Many aquatic invasives come from ballast-water, nets or on the bottom of boats, and imported plants can bring insects and seed-and-berry escape artists. Japanese Knotweed is so invasive that cutting it down and burning it still doesn’t get rid of it! Watch out if you go to Florida, the unintended release of the Burmese Pythons has allowed them to grow in population there!

What are the effects?

Invasive species are one of the biggest causes of loss of biodiversity and extinction.[2] In the case of the Burmese Pythons in the Everglades, their presence has been devastating to wood storks and woodrats, both endangered species.[1]

Generally an invasive species doesn’t have natural predators or controls. With nothing stopping the invasives from taking over, the native wildlife doesn’t have any defense and cannot out-compete it. Competing for food, water, and shelter, invasives that crowd out the natives can actually change the food web making them a “global threat to food security and livelihoods.”[3]

Climate change is making the problem bigger.[4] Changing weather patterns and habitats make it more hospitable for species to live in areas they’ve never been able to live in before. We can see this in the increase in Lyme-carrying ticks that have traveled further north and no longer have long winters keeping them at bay. A study in Canada found that mosquito-borne diseases have increased 10% as mosquitos that carry these diseases have increased their range and numbers due to climate change.[5]

How KCI is Slowing the Rise

Video

Getting Goat Island Off the Grid

The Gulf of Maine Field Studies took a local issue that the town was facing with one of its iconic properties and made it a laboratory of discovery for students. The students were tasked with getting Goat Island off the grid.
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Blog

Carbon Neutral Universities

One movement that has been nearly ubiquitous throughout college campuses nationwide is the push for campus carbon neutrality.
Go

Act Now to #slowtherise

Myself

Monitor and Report Invasives

To be a positive part of controlling invasive species, connect with a local land trust to learn how you can get involved in a local removal project!

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My Family

Bring It Home!

Native plants are easier to maintain in your yard and garden because they’re meant to be there, and will even help native creatures in your area!

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My Community

Take it To The Stores

It’s important our towns commit to using only native plants in beautification projects and for exotic pet stores to better educate owners!

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How You Can Help

Use the sites below to learn which species in your area are invasives and how you can report them. If you’re on a public trail or in a park (National or State), you should report what you’ve found to the nearest office. If it’s in your yard, it’s best to figure out how to control it. Do a little research and be informed! You can also contact the Fish and Wildlife Service to report aquatic species. To be a positive part of controlling the invasions, connect with a local land trust (land trust finder below) and get involved in a removal project!

National Invasive Species Information Center

Land Trust Alliance

How Your Family Can Help

Use native plants in your landscaping and gardens. Remember, they’re easier to maintain because they’re meant to be there and will help the native creatures in your area! If you’re still a doubter, check out the resources available below. These are great links, but you can also just search online or call your local extension office. Below is a guide for homeowners from the University of Georgia full of universal recommendations.

Native Plants: 10 Alternatives to Invasive Garden Invaders

Kick the Invasive Exotic Gardening Habit!

A Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing Invasive Species

How Your Community Can Help

The town has to foot the bill when we help get rid of invasive species and it can be very expensive. If our communities commit to using only native plants in beautification projects, as well as creating regulations about garden centers carrying damaging invasive species, we can keep that cost down. This works for plants, but as we know from Florida, exotic pets can be a problem too! Make sure that pet stores have info available about options for re-housing exotic pets that aren’t releasing them into the wild. The cost of awareness is low compared to the cost of fixing the problem after it’s happened.

The Cost of Invasive Species

Take it Further

Educate Us

Are you or your organization doing something to slow the rise of this cause that TCI should know about or feature? Let us know!

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