In their natural environment, plant and animal populations are kept in check by natural controls - predators and food supply. When a new species is introduced - accidently or intentionally - these balances can be thrown off and the consequences can be devastating. While not all "non-native" species cause problems, some can spread unchecked, crowding out natural plants and animals and costing billions in property damage. These are called "invasive species."
Invasive species contribute directly to the decline of 49% of the threatened and endangered species in the US. They disrupt breeding grounds, shade out native plants, and destroy food chains. Additionally, they can have strong economic impacts as well. Invasive species can destroy economic productivity by infesting livestock pastures or farmlands, causing land owners to spend millions combating them.
The Nature Conservancy aims to control the threat to biodiversity posed by invasive plants, animals, insects, and diseases through a combination of prevention, early detection, eradication, restoration, research, and outreach. We believe that the threat of invasive species can be effectively abated by using these techniques and approaches.
January 15, 2011