Invasive species such as animals, non-native plants, and microorganisms are a major threat to our ecosystems, and natural habitats. They are more difficult to manage when they spread and establish themselves.
Nonnative plants are the most problematic invasive species and they even have tendencies to dislodge our native plants when invading to live and spread. They can also erode and lower the quality of our soil, therefore, decreasing food production or quality levels. In extreme and unfortunate events, they can destroy trees species, which have numerous benefits to our environment and livelihood.
What Are Nonnative Invasive Species?
These species have moved from their native ecosystem to a completely new place where they never existed. There are various reasons for the move, such as transportation or travels either accidentally or intentionally. In most cases, they arrive with no or few enemies, which make them more competitive and prosperous than native species, which tend to suffer because of the invasion. Climate change is also believed to have contributed to worsening the impact of invasive species.
Why Are Invasive Species A Huge Problem?
Invasive species are also a threat to the US economy and the rest of the world. They have caused global economies to lose billions of dollars. The invasive species have made huge tracks of lands unpalatable. They have also negatively affected commercial fisheries industries through acting as transmitters of diseases and caused other damages such clogging of pipes and amongst others.
Nonnative species such as weed compete with crops and these have negative effects on production and yields. Invasive insect pests can also destroy our agricultural products in the same way. They are a threat to human health as well and could negatively affect our livelihoods. Some invasive insects spread diseases to humans while plants like ragweed are linked to severe hay fever when they release allergens into the air and people inhale it.
Several Ways to Prevent and Stop the Spread of Invasive Species
Due to the highly destructive nature of invasive species, learning how to prevent or stop their spread is a desirable option. Below are various ways we can prevent or stop invasive species:
Verify Any Plant You Buy For Your Yard/Garden to Ensure Its Nonnative
Shop for your garden’s plant with diligent and replace all the non-native, if any, with native plants when you spot them in your garden. You can ask professional landscape experts to help with identifying invasive plants and make plans to get rid of them completely.
Clean Your Hiking and Fishing Gear
In numerous cases, people unknowingly collect non-native species from their waders and boots as they fish and hike. Always spray and wipe your waders and boots after and before traveling to make sure you are not transporting invasive species to new destinations. It is also advisable to switch felt-soled waders with the rubber ones to prevent harboring non-native species. Brush your clothes and gears as well to get rid of organic material from harboring and transporting non-native seeds.
Only Keep Fish Pets If You Will Not Release Them Later
Maintaining fish pets require dedication and commitment and if you are ready for it then go for it. However, as much as releasing them seems like a humane step to take, do not do it as it poses a great risk to the native ecosystem. Releasing a harmless goldfish might seem like a very trivial issue to you, but they might go on and prey on other fish eggs and small invertebrates. They can also spread exotic diseases and parasites to native fish species. Goldfish are known to root up the plants and release nutrients, which lead to excess growth of algal, which is sometimes difficult to control.
Most cases of invasive marine are often traced back to pets releases. At one point, researchers concluded that the huge lionfish invasion that was experienced in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean were because of as few as six females that were released to the ocean by fish traders. Conclusive researches have also declared that close to half of new fish species introduced to US waters are released by humans; in most cases, people do not know it is not a good option. Most probably, not all of them are problematic, but the few might cause huge destruction to the native fish or water plants.
You can find a family member or a friend that is willing to take over the responsibilities of taking care of your pet fish if you change your mind. However, it is best if you adopt your fish pet if you are prepared to keep it for the entirety.
Don’t Move Firewood
If you must use firewood, go to your local providers to avoid moving it from one place to another. Firewood in most cases is either made out of dying or dead trees. These trees might serve as habitats for different pest species. One of the extremely damaging invasive species you can find in these trees is emerald ash borer. By moving firewood, you will ease their spread to a new place unintentionally.
Clean Your Boat Thoroughly When Moving It to a New Water Body
Aquatic invasive species like diverse types of algae can hang onto your boat after fishing or leisure cruise. Always wash your boat thoroughly to ensure you are not responsible for spreading invasive species.
Fish Using Native Bait
When fishing, invasive species might cling on to your bait in the form of fish, worm, or any other microorganism. When preparing for a fishing session to your local creek, stream, river, or coastal neighborhood, uses native bait. After fishing, never dump the bait in the water.
Clean Your Home Pets Regularly Especially Before and After Travels
Your dog’s or cat’s paws and furs are possible hiding places for invasive species like seeds and small pests. Remember to clean and brush your pets before and after traveling to a new location.
Report Any Invasive Species If You Spot Them
Different states and municipalities in the US have created web portals for their agricultural or environmental agencies where locals can report any invasive species. However, if your jurisdiction does not have a website to report to, you can still find local agencies or agricultural experts who will manage them.
Volunteer At Joint Removal Efforts
Irrespective of where you live, you can always find a way to volunteer in joint efforts of getting rid of invasive species in your either local community areas or wildlife area like in the rivers, lakes, or local parks. Taking time to check and remove invasive species in your yard is also a good effort. You can also learn to identify the invasive non-native species and organize a removal event. Ignoring them might have greater negative effects.
These methods will help you prevent and stop any possible spread of invasive species in your area. Prevention is easier and more time-and-cost-effective than control, but stopping them is equally easy if proper steps and effort are taken. The National government limits invasive species’ movements into the border through sanitary measures and proper quarantine inspection and regulation. You can contribute as well if you learn how to manage and remove invasive species. You can also report unfamiliar plants to your state or local environmental or a research group.