Ed Golson Outdoor Education

what are invasive plants?

What's the big deal about invasive species, anyway? Well, they are a bigger problem than you might think. To start with, it should be important to note the difference between a simple nonnative species and an invasive species. Both are examples of living things that were not originally found here, but were brought here by humans, either by accident or on purpose. The difference is in how they affect the environment once they get here.

Not all nonnative species are harmful to the environment. Some simply blend in and fit in nicely with the species that are already here. The ring-necked pheasant and the dandelion are good examples of species that are not native to Michigan but have been brought here without causing any problems.

Inv asive species are nonnative organisms that disrupt the environment when they are introduced. Invasive species usually don't have any type of natural predators here, so they are free to reproduce at will. Some invasive species cause problems when they kill and eat native species that are important to the environment. The emerald ash borer and the sea lamprey are good examples of this type of invasive species.

Other types of invasive species cause problems when they simply out-compete native mussel colony species. They are able to reproduce and spread faster than native species. They continue to grow and take over large areas until the native species no longer has any place to live. Examples of this type of invasive species are the zebra mussel or the purple loosestrife.

Invasive species are dangerous to the environment because they threaten to kill off many types of native species that have been here a long time and are important to the environment. Go back to learn more about the several invasive species that are threatening Michigan wildlife.

Links to invasive animal species:

Links to invasive plant species:

Back to Previous Page