MACC Invasive Species Front Page
Introduction to Invasive Plants
Conservation Commission Jurisdiction of Invasive Plants
I.D., Ecology and Control of Invasive Plants
Site Invasive Plant Restoration and Replanting
Funding for Invasive Plant Control
Discuss Invasive Plants On-Line
 

Why Invasive Plants are Successful

Plant Traits
Invasive plants, as this name implies, invade -- to the detriment of existing native plants. The success of invasive plants is the result of multiple interrelated factors. Environmental conditions may differ between a plant’s native and adopted range causing the introduced plant to utilize resources more effectively. Another possible factor is that predators and diseases that affect a species in its native range are not present in New England, and as a result the invasive plants are able to devote energy to growth and fruit production instead of chemical compounds to combat their natural enemies.

Ecological Disturbance
Natural or human-caused events that disturb the processes of established ecosystems have a large impact on plant communities. Since disturbances free up growing space for new plants, they are necessary for native plant community succession and biodiversity. However, because invasive plants grow rapidly, produce large numbers of viable seeds, and may not be subject to disease or herbivore damage, they often are able to exploit disturbances more readily than many native species.

Natural Disturbance Events. Ecosystem disturbances can result from natural occurrences such as fire, flooding, drought, windstorms, ice storms, insect damage, disease mortality and animal browsing.

Human-caused Disturbance. Human activities that can cause ecosystem disturbances include: development, road building, logging, cultivation, ditching, dam building, water drawdown, fire, leaf-raking, and mowing.

for Effects of Disturbance.

Identification and Ecology
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Identifying invasive plants is the first step in their prevention and control. Understanding the ecological traits of a particular species can help managers locate the habitats in which a plant is likely to be found and how it will respond to disturbance and control. Since it is unrealistic to expect that Conservation Commissioners will have the time to familiarize themselves with each species, they must be able to draw upon easily accessible resources for information.

The following table and associated links provide a comprehensive review of introduced plant species that are currently, or likely to become invasive in Massachusetts.


Identification, Ecology, and Control of Invasive Plants


Additional References