Issue Area

Terrestrial Invasive Species

Overview

Invasive species are any type of living organism that are not native to an ecosystem and cause harm. Found in all 50 states, invasive species can reproduce and spread rapidly, thrive in many different environments, and withstand threats that native species cannot. Terrestrial Invasive Species (TIS) thrive on land in the form of both plants and wildlife, and can spread through a number of methods. As with Burmese pythons in the Everglades, many captive invasive wildlife species either escape or are purposely released into the wild. Wildlife trafficking and otherwise legal trade can also introduce invasive species. Efforts to control TIS have mainly taken the form of funding for research and management, market based tools, public education, and following a principle of “Early Detection, Rapid Response.”

NCEL Point of Contact
Kate Burgess

Conservation Manager

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Key Facts

Invasive plants already infest more than 100,000,000 acres of land in the United States and about 3 million acres are lost to invasive plants each year.

Feral pigs and hogs, terrestrial invasive species that are spreading through the southern U.S., spread diseases like E. coli to humans and livestock while also destroying crops and native plants.

Cogongrass and invasive cheatgrass in the West increases the threat of wildfire to native plants and wildlife by burning hotter and faster than native grasses.

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Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

Biosecurity and Invasive Species Special Report

This 2019 report highlights the work of Western Governors to address the challenge of nuisance species and pests in western ecosystems

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List of State Laws and Regulations on Plant Pests

The National Plant Board maintains this list of state laws and regulations on plant quarantines, noxious plants, plant pests and plant disease vectors.

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USDA's Terrestrial Invasive Species Webpage

The USDA National Agricultural Library houses a National Terrestrial Invasive Species Webpage containing relevant TIS publications, law, policy, media, and tools.

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Maps of All Invasive Species in U.S.

The Early Detection & Distribution Mapping (EDDMaps) project provides an exhaustive interactive list of invasive species of plants, insects, wildlife and diseases with national, county, and GIS point maps for individual invasive species.

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