Invasive Species and Native Pests

Invasive Species

An invasive species is an alien [non-native] species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (Executive Order 13112). Species invasions are one of the main ecological consequences of global changes in climate and land use. Most invasions over the past several centuries have involved species transported directly or indirectly by humans.

The USDA Forest Service Invasive Species Program's goal is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, establishment, spread, and impact of invasive species across all landscapes and ownerships. The Invasive Species Program integrates many divisions of the agency.

Forest Service Research and Development studies all sorts of invasive species: Insects, Plant Pathogens, Weeds, Fish & Aquatic, and Terrestrial Animals.

Emerald ash borer
Emerald ash borer. Photo by David Cappaert, Michigan State University,

Forest Health Protection, a part of State and Private Forestry, has over 250 specialists in the areas of forest entomology, forest pathology, invasive plants, pesticide use, survey and monitoring, suppression and control, assessment and applied sciences, and other forest health-related services, protecting the forests from invasive insects, pathogens, and plants.

Forest Service National Strategic Framework for Invasive Species Management cover.

The 2013 Forest Service National Strategic Framework for Invasive Species Management provides a consistent, agency-wide approach to the prevention, detection, and control of invasive insects, pathogens, plants, wildlife, and fish.

The Framework incorporates the Invasive Species Systems Approach (ISSA) developed by the Forest Service to respond to threats over the next 5 to 10 years.

Read more about the Framework for Invasive Species Management...


Native Forest Insects and Diseases

Native insects and pathogens are an important part of a healthy forest ecosystem, but when environmental and biological conditions favor their development into outbreak status they can cause significant losses to forests. Several of these insects and pathogens, such as bark beetles and root diseases, have had extensive impacts forests in western and southern forests.

Southern pine beetle damage
Southern pine beetle damage on the Snoopy Plantation, Indian Mounds Wilderness Field. Photo by Ronald F. Billings, Texas A&M Forest Service.