Invasive Species-negative effects on Biodiversity

Here (Links to an external site.) is a page that generally describes the history, consequences, and simple management of invasive species. The issues caused by invasive species have been occurring for thousands of years; from Romans using foreign species in the Colosseum, to European colonization of the New World. Exotic plants and animals can be detrimental to an ecosystem because these species did not co-evolve with the native species of the landscape. Throughout history, invasive species have generally been introduced in three ways: 1) Accidently released in a new area they were intentionally brought to, 2) Introduced to eradicate another invasive species, 3) Sneaking into Cargo on ships.

Invasive species can be managed and controlled. One key factor is educating people about the dangers of transporting wildlife to new places. Hunting is also a way to manage uncontrolled invasive species as well. The article overall emphasizes the impact globalization has on the number of invasive species.

In my opinion, the root cause of the issues that invasive species may impose is the fact that the species did not co-evolve with the native species of the area. Ways in which one species evolved in it’s natural habitat, may not fit into the foodweb of other ecosystems. So when an invasive species thrives, it hurts the biodiversity of the natural area. Human action influences the introduction of invasive species through globalization. In Oregon, feral swine are an invasive species that “have been shown to restrict timber growth, reduce and/or remove understory vegetation and destabilize soils, causing increased erosion and compaction while simultaneously decreasing stream quality. Rooting and grubbing activities have been shown to facilitate the invasion of noxious weeds and other nonnative vegetation, reducing site diversity and distribution of native species. Feral swine compete with native wildlife and livestock for food and habitat, and they prey on young native wildlife and livestock. Feral swine can transmit disease to wildlife, livestock and humans” (ODFW Invasive Species Fact Sheet (Links to an external site.)). They were introduced by escaping from domestic swine facilities or by being released intentionally. ODFW requires landowners to inform them when there are feral pigs on their property and to submit a removal plan. They also ban the sale of hunts on public/private property. Feral pigs are so prolific that even with legal hunting, the invasive population only increases. Management plans are complex for this reason. I think that it will take a combination of educating people on not releasing their pigs/keeping their domestic pigs secure, eradicating feral pigs, and taking precautionary measures for agriculture and livestock to make a good attempt at controlling this invasive species. It takes correcting negative human action to help control the future biodiversity of ecosystems.

Grassland Systems Diagram

Nutrient cycling is important for ecosystem function and goods and services.It is fundamental to life and influences biodiversity as a supporting service. The main nutrients that cycle within and throughout an ecosystem include energy, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and phosphorus. Plants are primary producers, herbivores are primary consumers, carnivores are secondary consumers, and then there are decomposers. The interactions between these organisms cycles nutrients throughout an ecosystem. This systems diagram displays nutrient cycling in a rangeland grassland ecosystem.