Did you know it is National Invasive Species Awareness Week? Better yet, do you know what an Invasive Species is and why they are a problem? If not, don't worry. It's a fairly easy concept.
There are three major categories applied to plants:
You may be asking yourself, "A pest? How can a plant be such a bad thing? Aren't they just growing where our native haven't been successful?" The answer is, yea - sort of. Invasive exotics may not seem like a big deal; a plant is a plant after all. Who cares if it is this plant or that plant? You should!
Oh, and did I mention the title of Invasive Exotic isn't limited to plants? Wildlife can earn this prestigious honor as well (please note the sarcasm...). An influx of invasive exotic species can lead to huge economic implications when flood control is impaired, parks become overrun with a vine shading out and killing all of the trees, or when wildlife populations are damaged due to predation.
According to a Florida Department of Environmental Protection study in 2001, the value of nature-based tourism was $7.8 billion dollars and the largest threat to that industry is exotic invasive species. In addition to the state's economy, which I imagine we would all like to improve, invasive species can wreck havoc in your yard, too. Invasive species can throw entire ecosystems and regional plant communities out of whack.
National Invasive Species Awareness Week is meant to spread the word regarding this fascinating and complex issue regarding exotic plants and animals. There's a rulle of tens associated with exotic species. It says,
10% of all introduced species will be able to reproduce and survive, and of those, 10% will become invasive.
This is a huge problem for Florida! With four major airports and at least three major seaports; we see hundreds, if not thousands, of new species every month. Those species will have an easy time avoiding detection for many years if we use history as an example. We need to improve public awareness of the issue. For instance, I'd venture to say that most of the population in Florida is familiar with the exotic species Burmese python, and those in north Florida with Kudzu vine but how many are familiar with ...
Want to know how YOU can get involved? I've borrowed some of these ideas from the Official NISAW website to share with you, check the website for more! Below, see five easy ways to get involved with #NISAW!
Thanks for reading about National Invasive Species Awareness Week! Did you learn something? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great #NISAW!