Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas
Swearingen, J., K. Reshetiloff, B. Slattery, and S.
Zwicker. 2002. Plant Invaders of
All living things - bacteria, fungi, plants, animals and other organisms - have evolved to live in specific areas on the Earth. Local climate, geology, soils, available water and other natural factors influence which plants and animals live in particular ecosystems and habitats.
Natural areas are wild to semi-wild areas such as fields, forests, streams and wetlands, that are composed of diverse groups of native plants, animals and microorganisms. These biological groupings have evolved over thousands of years into natural communities and ecosystems. Large to small natural areas are all around us and include parks, refuges, preserves, fields, forests, open spaces, undeveloped areas on community and corporate lands, schoolyards, municipal facilities and backyard habitats.
What are native species?
What are invasive plants?
How are invasive plants introduced?
How do invasive plants spread?
Why are invasive plants a problem in natural
Invasive plants also affect the type of recreational activities that we can enjoy in natural areas such as boating, bird watching, fishing and exploring. Some invasives become so thick that it is impossible to access waterways, forests and other areas. Once established, invasive plants require enormous amounts of time, labor and money to control or eliminate. Invasive species cost the United States an estimated $34.7 billion each year in control efforts and agricultural losses.
How to prevent spread of invasive plants
If you already have invasives planted on your property, consider removing them and replacing them with native species, such as those suggested in this guide. Refer to reputable resources (see references) for more information on identifying invasive plants and the best ways to control or remove a specific plant. When visiting a natural area, be alert for invasive species. If you see some, notify the agency or organization responsible for managing the land. Before you leave, avoid carrying "hitchhiking" plant material by taking time to brush seeds from clothing and shoes and remove plant material from boats, trailers and other items.
Information about this guide
For purposes of this manual, the mid-Atlantic region includes the District of Columbia and the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. More than 200 exotic plant species have been identified by natural resource managers as problematic invaders of natural areas in the mid-Atlantic region. The plants included in this guide are some of the most problematic invasives that are responsible for significant degradation of natural communities in this region. This guide is not intended to be a complete resource on invasive plants in the mid-Atlantic region and a list of organizations is provided where readers can obtain additional information. Plants excluded from this guide should not be assumed to be environmentally safe.
For more complete information on invasive plants, including species not covered in this guide, contact the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council at http://www.ma-eppc.org or the Plant Conservation Alliance, Alien Plant Working Group at http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/.
|Bargeron, C.T., D.J. Moorhead, G.K. Douce, R.C. Reardon & A.E. Miller |
(Tech. Coordinators). 2003. Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.:
Identification and Control. USDA Forest Service - Forest Health
Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, WV USA. FHTET-2003-08.