© Guardian photo
Julie-Lynn Zahavich, Spotter's Network co-ordinator, P.E.I. Invasive Species Council, and Beth Hoar, parkland conservationist with the City of Charlottetown, discuss invasive species at a workshop held Thursday at the Charlottetown Farm Centre. Presentations were held through out the afternoon.
Beth Hoar says they affect people and the environment in many ways
By Chris Gregory
Beth Hoar wants Island environmentalists to have one thing, and that is awareness of invasive species.
The chair of P.E.I.’s Invasive Species Council, says it is time to get the issue on people’s radars, and Thursday’s inaugural workshop was a great place to start.
“We’re an educational organization,” she said.
“We really want to have people aware of things and making good decisions.”
Invasive species are plants, animals, or insects that are outside of their native location. They usually get transferred through people, intentionally or unintentionally. Once they get moved, they spread and can damage that new habitat.
Hoar says the more people who can keep an eye on invasive species the better, as there is still a lot to be learned.
“A lot of times we really don’t know how big the populations are for some species, and there are a lot of invasives out there that I’m sure we don’t know about,” said Hoar.
“There’s a broad range…from invasive plants to aquatics, insects, forest pests, etc.”
Julie-Lynn Zahavich is the Spotter’s Network co-ordinator with the council and she is encouraging as many people to sign up as possible.
The spotter’s network is a group of volunteers and professionals who look out for any possible new invading species and report them to the council.
She said the impacts that invasive species have gone far beyond just the environment.
“They affect us…through the environment, the economy, and it affects us socially.”
Within habitats, invasive species can cause major damage and affect the lives of native species, she said.
“It provides competition for the native species, especially ones already at risk. The added pressure could put them over the edge, and it could even cause extinction for some.”
Invasive species are costing Canada millions of dollars and will continue to hurt the environment’s native species, says Zahavich. She says it is in everyone’s best interest to become aware and involved.
“If we can identify these invasive species, particularly new invaders, we can take care of them and hopefully avoid these costs.”
WHAT IS AN INVASIVE SPECIES?
1 - An invasive species is a plant, fungus or animal species that is not native to a specific location.
2 - All species compete to survive, but invasive species appear to have specific traits or specific combinations of traits that allow them to out compete others.
3 - Typically, an introduced species must survive at low population densities before it becomes invasive.
4 - An introduced species might become invasive if it can outcompete native species for resources such as nutrients, light, physical space or food.
5 - An invasive species might be able to use resources that were previously unavailable to native species.