The Big Picture: Why is this important? How do invasive plants affect us?

Invasive plants pose a long-term threat to biodiversity, ecosystem stability, and the balance of nature on which all species depend. They spread into natural areas where they crowd out native plants and the wildlife that depend on them. These weeds disrupt ecosystem patterns and processes, such as hydrology, natural plant succession, and soil erosion.

Invasive plants are difficult to control and can be a real nuisance in landscaped areas. Japanese Bamboo, for example, spreads aggressively both by seed and vegetatively and is extremely difficult to manage.

Invasive species can interfere with the enjoyment of public and private conservation lands. Their tall growth habitat and ability to decrease the diversity of wild areas by creating a monoculture (solid stands where nothing else can grow), can greatly diminish scenic views and vistas. Phragmites are just one example, commonly seen impeding the view of freshwater wetlands and salt marshes.

Harmful invasive plants have the potential to adversely alter the ecological balance of the Cape's sensitive and globally unique coastal plain ponds. Freshwater ponds are threatened by the invasion of exotic pondweeds. One such weed, hydrilla, has the potential to completely choke ponds, making it impossible for people to swim and fish. Therefore, invasive species have a negative impact, both on aesthetics and recreational activities.

Further introduction of invasive plants and a failure to manage invasive plant populations will result in the reduction of biological diversity. In addition, it will have adverse impacts on ponds and marshes by altering significant ecosystems and habitats. Ultimately, invasive plants pose a threat to fisheries, outdoor recreation, tourism, and the character of the Cape. See a list of invasive plant species for Massachusetts and Cape Cod.

Show All Answers

1. What is considered a native or indigenous plant?
2. Why should I use native plants?
3. What is an invasive plant?
4. The Big Picture: Why is this important? How do invasive plants affect us?
5. What can you do about this problem?