What is an invasive species?
An invasive species can be a plant or animal (including insects) and live on land or in the water. To be considered invasive, a species must first be introduced into an area by means other than natural processes, this makes it non-native. Not all non-native species are invasive. A non-native species is considered invasive if it has a competitive advantage over other species or negatively impacts the environment, economy or human health.
What characteristics make a species invasive?
Invasive species typically have features such as high reproductive rates or a tolerance of a wide range of conditions that give them a competitive advantage over native species. In some cases, non-native species are introduced into areas where there are no natural enemies to control them.
What is so bad about invasive species?
The presence of invasive species can alter hydrology, increase erosion and fire hazard. In natural communities, they can also alter food chains and cause native species extinctions. Invasive species threaten the economy by decreasing property values while aquatic invaders can hurt fishing and boating industries. Some invasive species may be poisonous to humans or animals or may carry human diseases.
What laws are in place to control the spread of invasive species?
In Minnesota, the MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) lists invasive plants to regulate their sale, transport and/or growth. Plants are categorized as prohibited noxious weeds (eradicate list or control list), restricted noxious weeds, or specially regulated plants. Quarantines by the MDA, such as the gypsy moth quarantine of Lake and Cook counties, limit the materials that can be moved out of an infested area.
Aquatic invasive species are also regulated by state laws. Learn more here.