Invasive Plants are Successful
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.
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.
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.
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.
table and associated links provide a comprehensive review of introduced
plant species that are currently, or likely to become invasive in Massachusetts.
Ecology, and Control of Invasive Plants