Invasive Species

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Invasive species are plants, animals, fungi or other organisms that are not native to a region and whose introduction causes harm to the environment, economy or human health. Invasive species can spread unchecked, taking resources such as space, sunlight, nutrients, and water away from native species. They pose a threat to biological diversity, alter community structure and can change ecosystem processes. After establishment, invasive species can further spread through dispersal by wind, water, roots, humans or animals.

New York City is a port for many international shipments, making the Hudson Valley susceptible to frequent introductions of new species. One key challenge faced in this region is rapid detection of invasive species, especially in residential areas where infestations can develop for many years without being noticed or reported. The sooner a species invasion is reported, the easier and more cost effective it is to remove the population.

In the Hudson Valley, land development, fragmentation, pollution, overabundant deer and climate change are all factors that can favor the spread and growth of invasive plants and animals. Invasive species have the ability to dramatically alter the remaining habitat, so this threat is a high priority in a fragmented region.

In 2015, New York prohibited the sale and distribution of over 50 invasive plant species, allowing for the reduced spread of known invaders. While this was a positive effort, much work needs to be done to combat the species already established in the Hudson Valley, and to understand their long term impact on our native ecosystems.

Click here to learn more about invasive species.