An invasive species is an organism outside its native range that does significant harm to the environment, the economy and/or human health. The Gypsy Moth, the Asian Long-horned Beetle and the Zebra Mussel are three examples that have received media attention in the Chicago area in recent years, but they are only the tip of a very large iceberg.
A 1999 Cornell University study concluded that invasive species cause damages and losses of at least $138 billion per year in the United States. The problem is likely to worsen as worldwide travel and trade continue to introduce species, either intentionally or unintentionally, to new lands outside of their native ranges.
The following are links to websites with more information on the problem of invasive species.
- The Global Invasive Species Initiative
- Midwest Invasive Plant Network
- National Wildlife Refuge System: Invasive Species
- Center for Plant Conservation
- Illinois DNR Invasive Species
- Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin DNR Invasive Species
- National Park Service Invasive Species Management
- Invasive Plants of Canada
- Defenders of Wildlife
Invasive Plants of Northeastern Illinois
Invasive plants represent a serious threat to the biological diversity of natural areas. The following is a list of invasive plant species commonly encountered in northeastern Illinois. Information on impacts and control of these species is provided by the links listed above.
- Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
- Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
- Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
- Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
- White Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba)
- Yellow Sweet Clover (Melilotus officinalis)
- Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
- Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
- Crown Vetch (Coronia varia)
- Cut-Leaf Teasel (Dipsacus laciniatus)
- Common Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris)
- Bush Honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.)
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