Invasive Alien Species: Disrupting and Changing the Normal Ecological Functions

Invasive Alien Species: Disrupting and Changing the Normal Ecological Functions

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Introduction
Invasive alien species are disrupting and changing the normal ecological functions of biomes, ecosystems, and the biosphere as a whole (CBD, 2009). They are a threat to biodiversity and can cause damage to, or even eradicate native species which natural cycles and other organisms depend on. While disrupting energy flow, food chains, and shaking the structure of ecosystems to the core, invasive species create not only ecological, but also a whole host of social, economic, and health issues that affect the livelihood of almost every organism on earth, including humans (CBD, 2009).
Invasive species, (also known as invasive alien species or simply alien species) are defined as any organism (plant, animal, pathogen, or other living thing) that is alien (non-native) to an ecosystem, which can cause adverse economical, ecological, or health effects to native species and/or humans. The roots of these problems all stem from the massive negative ecological impact these organisms are having on the environment (CBD, 2009). For all animal extinctions where the cause is known since the 1600’s, invasive alien species have been a contributing factor 40% of the time (CBD, 2006); the second most contributing factor to extinctions after loss of habitat (GC, 2013). By eliminating native species through competition for resources, predation, and transmittal of disease, invasive species continue to reduce biodiversity in almost all ecosystems around the world (CBD, 2009). In the future, this problem may worsen, and if no action is taken, could lead to a cascading ecological problem so large that whole communities or even ecosystems could collapse.
For example, one of Canada’s most prominent invasive species is the Zebra Mussel. These mu...


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...14 from
http://www.invadingspecies.com

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. (2012). Where do invasive species come from and how
do they spread? Government of Ontario. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from
http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Biodiversity/2ColumnSubPage/STDPROD_068682.html
Shah, Anup. (2014). Why is Biodiversity so Important? Who Cares? Global Issues. Retrieved
May 21, 2014 from http://www.globalissues.org/article/170/why-is-biodiversity-
important-who-cares#WhyisBiodiversityImportant
Shelton, Angie. (2011). Spread of Invasive Species. Indiana University. Retrieved May 20, 2014,
from http://www.indiana.edu/~preserve/InvasiveSpread/home.html
University of Massachusetts. (2009). Invasive Species. Global Environmental Governance
Project. Retrieved May 20, 2014 from http://www.environmentalgovernance.org/research/issues/invasive-species/


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