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Each year numerous plant and animal species disperse from their natural range to new locations around the world. Many of these non-native, exotic species have colonized the southeastern United States and become invasive, displacing native plant and animal ecological communities. The consequences of these invasions may be localized or widespread and impacts can range from minor to severe. Invasive species compete with native species, alter ecosystems, and may bring disease not only to native flora and fauna but to humans as well.
The diverse habitats of the southeastern U.S. provide favorable conditions for many invasive animals, microorganisms, and plants. More information about each group of invasive species is presented below.
Invasive Animals The southeastern U.S. is home to a wide variety of invasive animals, including invasive amphibians like the Cuban treefrog, birds including the common pigeon, fishes like the northern snakehead, invertebrates such as the zebra mussel, and mammals like the wild boar.
Invasive Microorganisms and Pathogens Plant and animal diseases are often devastating when introduced outside their natural range. Invasive bacteria include the pathogen responsible for butternut canker, while invasive viruses include Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Invasive fungi such as Chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease are examples of invasive pathogens originating overseas that decimated native trees in the southeastern U.S.
Invasive Plants Invasive plants include all invasive photosynthetic organisms, from algae and other phytoplankton, to aquatic plants, ferns, herbs and vines, grasses, and trees and shrubs.
Invasive Species Management Tools Invasive species management in the southeastern U.S. requires a full arsenal of tools, both physical and virtual. In addition to tools used in the field, many Web-based tools are available including identification guides, training materials, map layers, and other resources.
Regional, National, and International Invasive Species Resources