Simply, An invasive species is any non-native plant or animal that enters our ecosystem. The importation of plants and release of exotic animals into the wild are just two of the ways that these invasive species take root in Florida. And 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).
The impacts are not just financial, though. Invasive species upset the delicate balance of nature by changing food chains, threatening to drive native plants and animals into extinction, forever altering Florida's ecosystem.
Learn more about invasive species in Florida at the following sites:
- Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
- The Invader Updater
- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
- Laws, Rules, Regulations and Agencies Regarding Non-Native Plant Species