Invasive Species

The Power of Innovation

For The Nature Conservancy, its evolution from managing preserves to protecting entire landscapes and seascapes has meant a significant expansion in its conservation efforts. And with that expansion has come a realization: Given the limitations of staff and resources, success on a large scale cannot be achieved by conventional means. New tools and technologies are needed.

The response to that challenge has been a wave of innovation. Indeed, the Conservancy is leading the way in developing new tools and technologies to detect and control the spread of invasive species. These new technologies are extending the reach of conservation, enabling the Conservancy to work at the speed, depth and scale that are needed to protect our native forests and coral reefs.

New tools include:

  • The Super Sucker, a powerful underwater vacuum that sucks alien algae off coral reefs.
  • Aerial camera systems that provide high-resolution images of invasive weeds and the exact coordinates of where they are located.
  • Customized animal tracking collars (see photo above) that monitor the location and movement of wild pigs and goats in our native forests.
  • Remote-controlled trapping pens (see photo above) that utilize satellite technology and motion-sensor cameras to detect invasive animal activity and operate trap-doors from an office computer.
  • A helicopter-mounted herbicide applicator that lowers a weighted cable directly over an invasive weed, delivering a dose of safe, effective herbicide with surgical precision.


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