Invasive Species

As per Executive Order 13112 an "invasive species" is defined as a species that is:

  1. non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and
  2. whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
Invasive species can be plants, animals, fungus, pathogens or algae.  Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions, be it through intentional introductions (such as through the landscape or pet trade) and accidental instruction (such as through packing crates and bilge water).

Control over invasive species can be thought of as having 3 levels:

  1. Prevention - The methods usually employs outreach or legistation.  Examples include encouraging people to stop purchasing invasive landscape plants or banning the movement of firewood to prevent the spread of invasive insects.
  2. Early Detection/Rapid Response - The focus is on identifying invasions as they are emerging in order to prevent them from impacting native species.  The goal is to fully eradicate target species.
  3. Control and Management - The focus is on the protection of sites with high conservation values and includes long-term control programs to reverse larger infestations of widespread species.  The goal is restoration of the site.

Ultimately, we hope that regulatory actions banning the sale and movement of invasive plants and animals will be implemented at both the state and national levels.  This would significantly improve our chances of halting the continuing introduction of new invasive species.

Deer & Invasive Plants

When addressing invasive plant species, there is a critical link between deer overabundance and proliferation of invasive species.  Many native species are preferred deer forage, while invasive species are largely unimpacted.  In order to gain control over invasive plants, this problem needs to be addressed through active deer management programs, aimed at reducing herd size.  The long term goal is to establish ecological control where native plants are able to overcome and outcompete invasive plants, diminishing their ecologial impacts.

Defining the problem is simple..

For Invasive Plants: A relatively small number of nonindigenous species take up large amounts of space that would otherwise be occupied by a diversity of native species, leading to negative impacts on native plants and animals.

For Invasive Animals:  Invasive animals, insect pests and pathogens, cause significant damage through the degredation of whole native systems or through competition and predation of native species.

(Source: NJ Strategic Management Plan for Invasive Species)