Have you ever stepped on an ant mound and got bitten by Fire Ants? Fire ants are an invasive species, which were originally from Africa. Humanity has introduced non-native species into different climates for many purposes. The fire ant, along with the quagga mussel and different kinds of fungi diseases, were accidentally introduced all over the world by humans. These are called invasive species. Some present new problems and are harmful to the ecosystem while others don’t threaten the ecosystem and benefit humans in the process. Introducing invasive non-native species into another environment harms ecosystem in various ways.
Invasive non-native plants can cause harm to an environment in different ways. Invasive plant species can grow and develop quickly overwhelming other plants. An example of this is Kudzu. Kudzu is a vine that grows rapidly and originated from Asia and Japan. The vine can grow up to one foot a day and can reach a length of 100 feet. It kills plants by covering them and blocking their sunlight.
Many invasive plants mature and reproduce quickly. An invasive plant that can mature and reproduce fast is Purple Loosestrife. One plant can release up to 2,700,000 small seeds in a year. It can form clonal colonies growing from the same roots.
Invasive plant species can also impact the economy. The Scotch Broom often grows in disrupted areas and near roads. After a timber harvest, this invasive non-native plant clashes and crowds out tree saplings and creates a loss of timber profit. Invasive non-native plants can harm other native species.
Invasive non-native animals can harm the environment in different ways.Invasive non-native animals can threaten native animals and plants. The Burmese Python is native to South East Asia and was introduced into Florida when a Burmese python breeding facility was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew, releasing some snakes into the wild. They prey on various species of animals and are threatening many species of animals. Invasive animals also interfere with businesses and structures. An example of this is Zebra mussels and is also known as the quagga mussel.“Sandy beaches still rim the lakes, but if Lake Michigan, for example, were drained it would be now possible to walk almost the entire 100 miles between Wisconsin and Michigan on a bed of trillions upon trillions of filter-feeding quagga mussels.” - Dan Egan, The Life and Death of the Great Lakes. This Zebra mussel reproduces fast and clogs pipes of different industrial plants, such as water treatment facilities and power plants. It will infest harbors, damages waterways, and lakes.
Invasive species also can damage crops. An example of this is the European Staling. These birds take over other birds’ homes before they can nest in the spring, which threatens many birds. European Starlings also damages crops and fruit. These birds most often host ticks, fleas, worms, and mites. Invasive species can influence other living things and events.
Invasive non-native fungus species harms the environment by killing off the native species. Bsal is an invasive fungus species that is thought to be from Asia but now affects salamanders in North America, South America, and Europe. Bsal or Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans infect the skin and kills the salamander.
Invasive non-native fungus species can kill off trees quickly. The Dutch elm disease is transmitted by elm bark beetles and can spread through root grafting. It was introduced into the US in 1961.
Invasive non-native fungus species disease can also affect the economy. The stem rust species can affect different types of crops like wheat, cereal, and barley. Invasive non-native fungus species can kill native plants and animals.
Some people think invasive species are fine. People have brought invasive vines to provide ground cover. Invasive plants were also planted in many gardens because people thought it looked nice in their gardens. This is wrong because the invasive plants in a backyard or a garden could spread somewhere else outside and cause trouble.
Some people think it’s okay to release exotic pets into the wild regardless whether they know how it will impact the environment. This is wrong because releasing exotic pets can cause damage to the environment and living things, and breed with the other escaped pets. Examples of some species like this are the Burmese Python and the common pleco. Some people think that fungus infection isn’t a big deal and aren’t aware that it can kill trees quickly. This is not right because preventing fungi infecting your trees saves the work of removing a dead tree and can also save other trees from being infected. Invasive species is a topic to be concerned about because of its effect on native species and the environment Invasive non-native species can harm the environment. To prevent any further introduction of invasive species, people should avoid planting invasive plants in their backyard, not introducing non-native pets into the wild, and spraying trees with a fungicide to prevent fungal infections.
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