Invasive species long have been a problem for Florida, and continue to plague our area. But what is an "invasive," and what can you do about it?
First, a little background. Native species are defined as those that existed in Florida prior to European arrival, and they formed what we consider the natural Florida ecosystem. When the first Europeans came to this land, though, they brought with them an array of non-native plants and animals, also referred to as "aliens" or "exotics."
Some of those alien species took hold, throwing natural Florida out of balance. Years later, the damage that these species can and do cause became part of the language used to form the National Invasive Species Council, which defined an "invasive species" as "…an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health."
Over the course of the last 100 years or so, more than 50,000 foreign plant and animal species have become established in the United States. About one in seven has become invasive, with damage and control costs estimated at more than $138 billion each year (USDA/APHIS, 2001).
Learn more about invasive species in Florida:
- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
- Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
- Invasive Wildlife
- Marine and Coastal Invasive Species