When invasive species attack!!! [by Lauren]
Lauren Davenport is working as a conservation intern at the Franklin Conservation Department. She was assigned to write a piece on invasive species for the Franklin newsletter, but was kind enough to share some thoughts with Buntology readers first.
“I’m not trying to bore you guys here, but I thought a little environmental science info might spice up the site, and maybe I can share some of my knowledge. I think it’s interesting, I hope you do too!”
Invasive species are rapidly spreading across the world. Invasive species are plants, animals and insects that aren’t native to the area and have a negative effect on the habitat. They invade the area economically, environmentally and ecologically.
These species tend to overcome the native species in the area, displacing them in their natural habitat. In this article I’m going to focus mainly on invasive plant species, because if I wrote about the others I would be giving you a novel to read.
So how did they get here and where did they come from? Well it’s obvious that humans had something to do with it. We’ll buy anything if we think it looks good right? These plants were shipped across the ocean to our country and sold. After they are brought over, it’s easy for them to spread. Animals (especially birds) and the weather (rain and wind) disperse these seeds over the habitats.
So you’re probably thinking: why should I care about this Lauren? Well, like most things in this world, there is a Domino Effect! The invasive species starts to grow, takes over the native species, damages the ecosystems and resources that we use daily, and the next thing you know we are suffering because someone thought it was a good idea to put a pretty plant in their yard.
OK, maybe that’s an exageration. I mean, it’s not ALL our fault. There are more than 4,000 different types (including animals and insects) of these suckers out there and they are a threat to agriculture, human health, and the ecology of our beautiful land! Billions of dollars are spent each year because of negative impacts and control attempts. You guys ever hear of the West Nile Virus? All it takes is one infected mosquito to come to the U.S before they reproduce and spread!
So what can you do? I guess the first step is to become more aware. There are so many sites out there with pictures of plants, animals and insects that are invasive to your area. Now, I’m not telling you to go over to your neighbor’s house and start ripping up their lawn. But spread the knowledge or even volunteer in a removal group. Every little step helps. I spent last summer removing the invasive Japanese Barberry plant through the Student Conservation Association. Granted I did take a lot of naps in the woods, but I think overall I cleared the area.
*Davenport wants to stress this point to Buntology writer Ivan Cordero specifically. Ivan litters.