Threats and Impacts of Invasive Species
Invasive plant, pathogen, invertebrate, and vertebrate species, both terrestrial and aquatic, are some of the greatest threats to the health of our forest, rangeland, and aquatic ecosystems. An estimated $120-137 billion is expended annually to address exotic species invasions in the United States. Expanding global trade has increased the introduction of invasive species, as well as costs associated with preventing introductions and managing new infestations.
Damaging impacts of exotic infestations include diminished ecosystem productivity, decreased carrying capacity for livestock and wildlife, lowered recreational value, increased soil erosion, decreased water quality, and loss of native species. As native vegetation becomes displaced, further alterations in natural ecosystem processes occur including changes in fire frequency and nutrient cycling. The impacts of invasive species can be exacerbated by human activities such as disturbance, fertilization, increasing CO2, and climate change.
Research at Rocky Mountain Research Station
To address the threats associated with invasive species, a comprehensive strategy is needed that includes a strong research component at its core. Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) has the broad scientific expertise to conduct research on invasive species issues, with special emphasis on terrestrial and aquatic habitats throughout the in the Intermountain West. Our invasive species research focuses on four key areas:
- prediction and prevention;
- early detection and rapid response;
- control and management; and
- restoration and rehabilitation.
This website, sponsored by the RMRS Invasive Species Working Group, is designed to familiarize RMRS stakeholders and customers with RMRS invasive species research activities and provide a comprehensive and easily accessible source for research findings.