Real Science: Invasive Species

Invasive Plant Species Are a Thing (and not a good thing)

Multiflora rose image courtesy of Wikipedia

If you’ve already read For the Birds, you may remember Multiflora rose is an invasive species that Claire works to eradicate from her hometown in coastal Delware. The unfortunate Real Science is invasive species do exist and cause real damage to ecosystems.

“An invasive species is a non-native species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” 

Delaware Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife

How do invasive species do damage?

  • Reduce native diversity by competing for resources, such as space, sunlight, water and minerals.
  • Alter soil conditions by secreting chemicals that inhibit the germination or growth of other species
  • Alter nutrient cycling by changing the amount, composition, or rate of decay of leaf litter.
  • May hybridize with native species, which disrupts natural communities and changes habitat structure for other organisms such as bees, birds, mammals, turtles, fish and frogs.

If you garden, you can prevent damage from invasives.

  1. Ask for only non-invasive species when you acquire plants
  2. Research what species are invasive in your area. (Google: invasive species + your state)
  3. Do not trade plants if you know they are species with invasive characteristics
  4. Request that nurseries promote, display and sell only native species
  5. Talk to friends, neighbors, and other gardeners
  6. Contact your State’s Department of Environmental Protection for info on controlling invasive plant species
  7. Organize neighborhood work groups to remove invasive plants
  8. Volunteer at gardens and natural areas to assist ongoing efforts to diminish the threat of invasive species
  9. Participate in early warning systems by reporting invasive species to gardening groups and state officials in your area

The information on this page came from the DNREC website and Delaware Invasives

Learn more about invasive plant species at DelawareInvasives.net