The Nature Conservancy has been active for years preventing the spread of invasive plants on our land in Maryland through restoration and removal. You can do your part to help protect the lands you love in the Potomac River watershed and beyond by learning more about about some common invasive plants in our invasvies brochure.
Download the Brochure
Download a copy of the invasive plants brochure (pdf).
You can also download a copy of our handy invasives wallet card (pdf).
What is an Invasive Plant?
Invasive plants are usually nonnative species that have been introduced intentionally or by accident and spread from human settings into natural areas with negative effects to our economy, environment or health.
Free from the plant-eaters and parasites that keep them in check in their native ranges, invasives reproduce rapidly and spread aggressively, taking over natural areas and altering biological communities. Invasive plants have been referred to as a form of biological pollution.
Why Should You Be Concerned?
Invasive species are one of the top threats to our natural heritage, along with habitat loss and degradation. Invasive plants can displace native species, eliminate food and habitat for wildlife, alter natural fire regimes and nutrient cycling in soils, and inhibit native plant regeneration.
In the U.S. alone, invasive species cost over $120 billion annually in damage and control, and the cost they inflict on our natural heritage is immeasurable. Whether you are acting as a steward for your own property, a local park, or a far away natural area, invasive plants are likely to be a problem. In the face of such global threats to biodiversity as habitat destruction and climate change, we can each make a difference by preventing and controlling the spread of invasive species.
What You Can Do
In your own backyard: Learn about the plants on your property. Do you have invasive plants? Do the invasive plants overwhelm the native plants? Consider removing invasive plants from your yard and garden, and replace them with non-invasive and native plants in your landscaped areas. Don’t feel like you have to do it all at once; remove and replace invasive plants as your time and budget allow. Every little bit helps.
Volunteer your time: Local groups and park managers host year-round volunteer work parties, so consider lending a few hours to help protect and restore your favorite parks and natural areas. Removing invasive plants is a healthy form of outdoor exercise suitable for all ages, and it’s rewarding work.
In the News
- April 21, 2010: Two Nature Conservancy volunteers have put their creative minds to work by constructing sculptures from the vines of Oriental Bittersweet that they help remove. See their whimsical sculptures and learn more about the impact invasives have on the Potomac Gorge at WUSA9.com.