The spread of invasive species is, together with climate change, one of the most serious global environmental changes underway, causing enormous environmental and economic damage in the United States and around the world.
Invasive species have played a major role in listing approximately 50 percent of the United States' threatened and endangered species. Invasives also disrupt the function of native ecosystems—by altering fire cycles, nutrient flows, or hydrology or by transforming entire areas into vast monocultures.
Damage and control measures for the estimated 7,000 species of invasive plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, arthropods, and mollusks now established in the United States cost tens of billions of dollars annually. Clearly, the number and impacts of invaders must be reduced if we are to preserve the function and uniqueness of ecosystems around the world.
This emerging crisis has received far less attention than is warranted. Recognizing this, UCS initiated a project on invasive species and has made this work a priority. Our primary objective is strengthening policies to substantially reduce both the introduction and spread of invasive species in the United States and to decrease their impacts on native ecosystems and biodiversity. Encouraging the use of credible science in policy making and for raising public awareness will be the cornerstone of our work.
Learn more in UCS Invasive Species section.