What is an invasive species? 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources defines an invasive species as 'a species that is not native, and whose introduction causes harm or is likely to cause harm to an area’s economy, environment or human health.’ More often than not, invasive species are introduced through human activity. 

How are they harmful?  

Typically, invasive species have distinct advantages over native species; they can reproduce faster, and spread rapidly due to less naturally occurring predators. As a result, they can form dense populations and  monocultures that aggressively out compete native species. This competition results in less habitat and resources for native wildlife, which is detrimental to species that are already threatened or endangered. Once they have established a presence, it can be very difficult to eradicate invasive species populations. 

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There are several ways in which invasive species can cause harm to an area:

 

Human Health: in addition to being a nuisance, some invasive species  can also introduce diseases and physical dangers to people.

 

Natural Ecosystem Flow: once introduced, certain species can disrupt and prevent natural ecosystem operations. 

 

Native Species: invasive species are often immune to natural predators, climatic factors and other ecological controls that hinder native species. This advantage helps them to displace native species and reduce biodiversity.

 

Economic Prosperity: the introduction of invasive species often decimates the populations of competing native species, which in turn limits natural resource supply. Furthermore, invasive populations can negatively affect tourism.

 

Recreational Opportunities: aquatic invasive species can prevent boating, fishing and swimming on northern Michigan’s inland lakes.

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