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Understanding Invasive Species
The Post Review
Published August 8, 2012 at 8:58 am

As publicity about various invasive species, both aquatic and terrestrial, grows, it is important to understand exactly what an invasive species is. There is a plethora of words used in the media to describe problematic plants and animals, including invasive, exotic, non-native, noxious, alien, and weed.

These words are often used interchangeably as if they all have the same meaning. In reality, many have unique definitions and their misuse can lead to public mis-education.

A non-native plant or animal is a species whose native range, or the area it was found before human influence, is someplace other than where it currently is found.

An invasive plant or animal is a species that causes economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Some invasive species may be native.

Most invasive species that are in the news (Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Carp, European Buckthorn, Zebra Mussels) are species that are both non-native and invasive.

Many introduced species do not flourish in their new habitat, but there are a few that are able to reproduce exponentially. These are the species that cause the most trouble and receive the most attention.

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