What are non-native invasive plants?
Non-native invasive plants have been introduced from a different area and are causing damage to either the natural environment or our economy. Since non-native invasive plants have often been brought here from other counties or continents, they are free from the natural herbivores, insects, parasites, or competitor found in their native habitats. Because of this lack of natural population controls, invasive plants often have large and expanding populations. Often these plants will out compete and displace native plants of the region. This change in plant composition can have devastating impacts on native wildlife and plants of the area. Critical ecosystem functions can be altered as soil or water chemistry is changed, fire frequency or intensity is modified, and biodiversity is reduced.
Invasive plants can reduce the productivity of lands as they compete with or contaminate agricultural produced and slow the growth of timber. Some plants can even cause direct harm to humans and domesticated animals. The economic toll invasive species have on the United States is above $120 billion annually excluding of the loss of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and aesthetics, which are difficult to assign a monetary value to. Had those three been included in the estimate, the calculated value would be several times larger.
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