Often when we discuss problematic species we hear the word invasive thrown around. However, that’s not representative of the whole picture. Here is a list of terms and how to differentiate them and understand when and why plants move from one designation to the next.
NATIVE: A plant indigenous to a region. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s endemic to that region. It represents a long term position in that regional ecosystem’s balance.
- INDIGENOUS: Natural occupation of that region.
- ENDEMIC: occupying nowhere else.
NON-NATIVE: A plant not naturally found occupying this region but in temporary and isolated incidences it can be found there. This doesn’t necessarily mean its harmful to its new region or native species.
NATURALIZED: Plants not originally found in this region but have become part of the natural landscape of the region over time regardless if they’re harmful to that natural ecosystem or not.
INVASIVE: Non-native plants that pose a potential problem to the new regional ecosystem and native species due to their ability to successfully reproduce and spread.
NOXIOUS: Any plant that’s a direct threat to our native ecosystems and agricultural industry.
A specific pant may be native in one region, non native to another, invasive to a third region, naturalized in another, and also noxious in a 5th region. Each of these designations is ecosystem and species specific.
- Maintain balance in our ecosystems with pollution control, species management, resource conservation, etc.
- Protect NATIVE species through genetic preservation and repopulation efforts
- Monitor NON_NATIVE species to ensure they pose no threats to the native ecosystem
- consider NATURALIZED species as part of the evolution in the ecosystem if no other option is viable
- Control INVASIVE species ability to spread through restrictive barriers, seed disposal, etc.
- Eliminate NOXIOUS species by immediate removal and disposal