Invasive Species Management
What are invasive species?
Invasive species are introduced plants and animals that cause harm to the environment, the economy, and/or human health. Often displacing native species, these invaders skew the delicate native balance between animals, plants, and important processes such as water flow and fire. Florida is a good breeding ground for invasives due to tropical weather conditions and rising temperatures which allow certain plants to spread prolifically.
Exotic plants are those that have been introduced, either purposefully or accidentally, from a natural range outside of Florida. Not all exotics are invasive; only those that have been shown to significantly alter habitat or biological processes. Every two years, the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council releases an Invasive Plants List. In 2009, approximately 150 Category I & II plants were identified as invasive in Florida, more than half of those are located in central and north Florida. Category I plants have been shown to alter native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structure or ecological functions, or hybridizing with neighbors. Category II plants have increased in abundance or frequency, but have not yet altered Florida plant communities to the extent of Category I plants.
Within County property, these are the most common invasive plants:
(All links lead to the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants website.)