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invasive species

n. (context biology English) Any species that has been introduced to an environment where it is not native, and that has since become a nuisance through rapid spread and increase in numbers, often to the detriment of native species.

Invasive species

An invasive species is a plant, fungus, or animal species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.

One study pointed out widely divergent perceptions of the criteria for invasive species among researchers (p. 135) and concerns with the subjectivity of the term "invasive" (p. 136). Some of the alternate usages of the term are below:

  • The term as most often used applies to introduced species (also called "non-indigenous" or "non-native") that adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade economically, environmentally, or ecologically. Such invasive species may be either plants or animals and may disrupt by dominating a region, wilderness areas, particular habitats, or wildland–urban interface land from loss of natural controls (such as predators or herbivores). This includes non-native invasive plant species labeled as exotic pest plants and invasive exotics growing in native plant communities. It has been used in this sense by government organizations as well as conservation groups such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the California Native Plant Society. The European Union defines "Invasive Alien Species" as those that are, firstly, outside their natural distribution area, and secondly, threaten biological diversity. It is also used by land managers, botanists, researchers, horticulturalists, conservationists, and the public for noxious weeds. The kudzu vine (Pueraria lobata), Andean Pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata), and yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) are examples.
  • An alternate usage broadens the term to include indigenous or "native" species along with non-native species, that have colonized natural areas (p. 136). Deer are an example, considered to be overpopulating their native zones and adjacent suburban gardens, by some in the Northeastern and Pacific Coast regions of the United States.
  • Sometimes the term is used to describe a non-native or introduced species that has become widespread (p. 136). However, not every introduced species has adverse effects on the environment. A nonadverse example is the common goldfish ( Carassius auratus), which is found throughout the United States, but rarely achieves high densities (p. 136).

Usage examples of "invasive species".

This link with the gone-before of the airspheres' builders was reputedly the reason that all the hegemonising and invasive species - not to mention the unashamedly nosy species, such as the Culture - who had encountered the airspheres had thought the better of trying to take them over (or study them too closely).