Invasive Species

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First found May 22, 2018

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Dan Glickman
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By C Kohn, Waterford WI
 Imagine, for
a moment, that every
hardwood deciduous tree in the
community has died.
• There are no trees lining the streets
• The environmental center has had to be
completely clear cut
• The sides of streets are rural roads are lined with
stacks of rotting, infested logs.
 Seem
unlikely?
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Office of the Secretary
Declaration of Emergency
A serious outbreak of the Asian longhorned beetle is occurring in Illinois
and New York. This insect, native to China and Japan, is a destructive pest
hardwood trees.
If this pest moves into the hardwood forests of the United States, the nursery
and forest products industry could experience severe economic losses.
Resources are insufficient to meet the estimated $5.5 million needed
for the Federal Share.
Therefore…I declare that there is an emergency
which threatens the forest and maple syrup
industries of this country.
Dan Glickman, Secretary of Agriculture,
United States of America
 According
to the USDA, this one species
had the potential to wipe out dozens, if
not hundreds of species of hardwood
trees across the nation.
 How
could the addition of one species
cause so many others to die out?
 Why
don’t native species do this kind of
damage?
 Another
major threat includes the Gypsy
Moth.
• When GM densities reach very high levels, trees
may become completely defoliated (lose their
leaves).
• Entire stands of trees can be lost with repeated
years of leaf loss.




The latest invasive insect to threaten Wisconsin
forests is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).
The Emerald ash borer is an exotic beetle that
was discovered in southeastern Michigan near
Detroit in the summer of 2002.
The larvae (the immature stage) feed on the
inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the tree's
ability to transport water and nutrients.
It became established in Wisconsin in summer
2008

Invasive insects cost municipalities, property
owners, nursery operators, and forest products
industries tens of millions of dollars each year.

Every year, Wisconsin forests are bombarded
with more and more invasive species

Each is individually capable of destroying major
portions of our state’s timber.

Without effort to fight these insects, Wisconsin
could lose one of its most valuable natural
resources.

Take a moment and hypothesize why and how this
could happen.

How could a handful of different species of insects
create this kind of devastating risk?

Why is it that we rarely hear about native insects
causing this much damage?

What is different about these introduced insects?

How do we fight this kind of problem?

Is this a human-caused problem?

Invasive species are living species (plants,
animals, fungi, or microorganisms) that spread
rapidly and cause harm to other species by
preventing them from being able to obtain
nutrition, reproduce, and/or perform natural
functions at a normal rate.
• Invasives – living species that disrupt & harm native species

Most invasive species come from another
continent.

Native species are species that naturally inhabit
an ecosystem.
 Invasives
can go by many other names,
including
• Introduced species
• Nonindigenous Species
• Alien species
• Exotic species
• Weeds
• Pests
 Most
are brought in from other continents
willingly or unwillingly.
• However, some invasive species can be native to
an area.
• E.g. even though it is a native species, some
biologists consider Whitetail deer to be invasive
when their population surpasses a sustainable
level
 When there are too many deer, understory plants in
forests begin to disappear.

Often “invasive” and “introduced” are used
interchangeably
• While this is often true, it is not always true

Some introduced species can be very helpful or
valuable.

98% of the US food supply comes from introduced
plants and animals including…
• Wheat

Rice
Cattle
Poultry
Introduced species are not always bad.
Introduced species only become invasive when
they displace native species.
• Wheat rarely displaces a native population w/o humans

There is also a misconception that all introduced
species become invasive.
• In fact, most do not.

Of every 100 exotic species introduced to North
America, only about 10 are able to survive
without the planting or assistance of humans
• E.g. rice does not spread from its field on its own

Of the 10 in 100 that can survive without humans,
only about 1 of these will cause serious
ecological problems.
• So odds are that only 1% of introduced species become
invasive

However, this 1% causes more than its share of
damage

US environmental damage from invasive species
is estimated at $138 billion per year.
• To give some perspective, this cost is more than twice the
total value of Wisconsin’s entire agricultural industry

Zebra mussels alone have caused $3 billion in
damage to the Great Lakes.
• This equates to ~$100/yr lost for every man, woman, and
child that live in a Great Lakes State because of one
species!
 NOAA: 35 million population; Cornell: $3 billion cost.

Invasive species usually have several of the
following characteristics:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
They grow rapidly and compete with other plants or
animals
They produce large numbers of seeds/offspring at a
young age
Their seeds/eggs can survive a long time before
sprouting
They can travel long distances
They have few if any predators
Their native region has a climate similar to the affected
area of the US
They have multiple reproductive strategies.
They have few, if any, specific needs
 Invasive
species are often “habitat
generalists”
• They can occupy a broad range of habitats
• Because they can adapt to many kinds of habitats,
they can spread to many parts of the country.
• They can use or create food in many ways.
 Invasives
spread well because they don’t
have specific needs…and many kinds of
habitat can fill those needs.

Invasive species can obtain resources more quickly
or efficiently than the native species in a habitat due
to…
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

A lack of natural predators in their new habitat.
An ability to tolerate human disturbance
Rapid reproductive strategies
Rapid growth and development
Multiple feeding strategies
Few if any specific physical needs or requirements
If unchecked, invasive species have the potential to
eradicate some or all native species and interrupt
natural ecological processes.
The biological invasion curve shows that prevention
is the cheapest and most effective strategy.
 It also shows that most awareness of an invasive
species comes only after eradication is basically
impossible.

 Humans
aid the spread of invasives in
many ways. Two key ways humans help
invasives are…
• Transportation
• Habitat Disturbances
 In
every example in this presentation, the
invasive species was brought to the US by
human activity (shipping, rail, etc.)
• Invasives very rarely occur unless they have help.

Transporting invasives allows them to gain access
to ecosystems they were a never a part of.
• Without transportation, invasives would never leave their
native regions.


Besides transporting invasive species, humans
can also aid them through habitat disturbance.
Habitat disturbances are when habitats
experience a rapid event that changes the
availability of resources such as light or nutrients.
• Unlike succession which is the slow, sustainable change of
habitats
 Habitat
Disturbances can be natural
• For example, a fire, flood, or volcano is a natural
occurrence that can completely change a habitat
 Habitat
Disturbances can also be
manmade
• E.g. building roads, agriculture, pollution,
invasives, urban sprawl, etc.

When humans build roads, roadsides are first disturbed by the
construction equipment that makes the road.
• Later, disturbances occur from the repeated mowing and spraying of
herbicides
• This kind of activity makes native species less competitive.
• Equipment, people, and introduced animals will help spread the seeds of
invasive plants.

Because of mowing and herbicides, only grasses are able to
survive. Any shrubs or trees and most flowers will be lost.
• Invasive grasses become even more successful because they can more
quickly recover from regular human disturbance.

More invasives will be continue to be introduced with
continued human activity.
• As invasive species become more prevalent, they “choke out” native
plants and the native animals that need those plants.
 Invasive
species spread rapidly and
cause harm to native species
 Usually invasive species are introduced
• However, very few introduced species become
invasive because only 1% become established
 US
environmental damage from invasive
species is estimated at $138 billion per
year.
 Invasives
spread well because they don’t
have specific needs…and many kinds of
habitat can fill those needs.
 Invasive
species can obtain resources more
quickly or efficiently than the native species
in a habitat
 If
unchecked, invasive species have the
potential to eradicate some or all native
species and interrupt natural ecological
processes.
 The
biological invasion curve shows that
prevention is the cheapest and most
effective strategy.
 It
also shows that most awareness of an
invasive species comes only after
eradication is basically impossible.
 Two
key ways in which humans help
invasive species are…
• Transportation
• Habitat Disturbances
 Human
activity moves species to locations
where they never previously existed.
 Habitat
disturbance can give invasive
species an increased ability to compete
with native species or reduce native
species’ competitiveness.

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