Why Should We Care About Invasive Species?

What’s the problem?

Invasive species threaten endemic biodiversity in the Pacific Northwest (and around the globe). Many people are unaware of how many species in their own back yard may be invasive and are unknowingly contributing to the problem.

What IS “endemic biodiversity” and why should we care about protecting it?

Properly functioning systems and interactions between populations of species help to reduce the spread of disease, they limit soil erosion and desertification. Having a variety of plant and animal species can also contribute to aesthetic values of humans in nature.

Endemic Species are Your Home Team for the Ecosystem

Biodiversity provides many useful services to people and the environment

Sea Otters vs. Climate Change

Predators, Prey and Lyme Disease

Ecologist Warns of Bamboo, Deer Mice Spreading Hantavirus

Invasive Species Could Cost Washington Businesses, Agencies $1.3 Billion

Invasive vs. Exotic, what’s the difference?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines invasive species as “a species that is non-native or alien to the ecosystem – the introduction of the species causes or is likely to cause harm to human health, or to the economy or environment.”

An exotic species is one which is not endemic, but may not be harmful to those that are. The important thing to keep in mind is that many exotic species can become invasive if certain conditions are met.

How do invasive species spread?

The National Wildlife Federation includes stowaways on ships, wood products, ornamental plants, and the pet trade as major contributors to invasive species introduction, but something as simple as not washing your car (or shoes) when travelling long distances can also introduce species that don’t belong.

Information specific to the Pacific Northwest:

Region 6 invasive species

Want to plant seeds native to the area?

Invasive Species and Salmon: Interactions in the Pacific Northwest

Economic Impacts of Invasive Species in the Pacific Northwest Economic Region

Washington Invasive Species Education

For information specific to your area, try googling “invasive species in [your location]” and “Plants native to [your location]”.

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