Invasive species damage the lands and waters that native plants and animals need to survive. They have contributed directly to the decline of 42% of the threatened and endangered species in the United States. The annual cost to the United States economy is estimated at $120 billion a year, with over 100 million acres (an area roughly the size of California) suffering from invasive plant infestations.
On their home turf, plant and animal populations are kept in check by natural controls like predators and food supply. However, when a species is introduced—accidentally or intentionally—into a new landscape that is not used to its presence, the consequences can be devastating.
Most of these “non-native” species do not misbehave. But some spread unchecked by the lack of natural competitors and predators. They push out native species and cause ecological chaos. These are known as “invasive” species. All habitats are vulnerable to these invasions, from grasslands and forests to lakes, rivers and oceans.
Approximately 700-800 species of plants in Ohio are not native to the state. Here, several non-native plants are invading woodlands and displacing native spring wildflowers. Others are impacting wetlands, grasslands and prairies.
In order to protect Ohio's natural areas from these threats, The Nature Conservancy is teaming with other organizations and agencies as part of the Ohio Invasive Plants Council, and serving as a resource for the public and land managers on issues related to invasive species.
On the ground, the Conservancy has for decades worked to combat invasive species in Ohio through restoration work, with the help of hundreds of volunteers.
Many invasive plant species are sold commercially throughout the state. Choosing a native species instead can help stop the spread of dangerous invaders. Click on each category below to view the invasive plant and an example of a good native alternative: