Dear Future President:
National parks are home to many ecosystems creating a cohesive miniature biosphere. These ecosystems are fragile and can be overthrown by a “harmless” single plant. This single plant has the capacity to drive an entire species into extinction, completely rearranging the ecosystem in their favor: changing food webs, decreasing biodiversity, or altering ecosystem conditions. This results when invaders prey on the native species, out-compete for resources or prevent native species from reproducing. (“Invasion Species”)
Over 6,500 non-native species have been documented on park lands, with 70 percent being of the plant species and 10 percent occurring in marine environments as reported by the National Park Service. The Burmese pythons inhabiting the Everglades was one of the worst incidents because there weren’t any predators, they bred uncontrollably, and overtook the land. To add to this nightmare, there is not a good strategy for removal; the best was a management strategy: using dogs to locate and trap them . This would have been preventable if humans didn't release them into the wild in the first place. This explains why one of the best solutions is to not create the problem.(Held)
Taking a bigger scope of the world, invasive species threaten 42 percent of species that are in danger of going extinct, according to the national wildlife federation. The major problem they pose are a loss of habitat to the native species. Native species aren't the only ones affected– the economy suffers as well. A non-native weed, leafy spurge, is responsible for ranchers losing more than $144 million a year in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, stated from the Nature Conservancy. These plants and animals create problems that need to either be fixed from damages caused or researched for a solution.
This is not a problem that will disappear on its own or with subpar effort. There are several solutions, that when working together are quite effective. One part of the solution is general education on the danger of transporting wildlife to new areas. Laws and regulations for future issues have also been put in place. A method to try and combat some of the animal problems have been haunting, and contests, but have had limited impact. The most substantial solution is funding for different types of research: whether dealing with the problem, or for prevention.(Hill)
Held, Joey. “Invasive species cause problems for parks” Our National Parks , 5 May. 2008, http://www.ournationalparks.us/park_issues/unwanted_invasive_species_cause_problems_for_parks/. Accessed 3 Nov. 2016.
Hill, Jacob. “Invasive Species: How They Affect the Environment” Environmental Science, http://www.environmentalscience.org/invasive-species. Accessed 3 Nov. 2016.
“Invasion Species” National Wildlife Federation, http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Invasive-Species.aspx. Accessed 3 Nov. 2016.