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What are Invasive Species?

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Our What are Invasive Species section provides information about how invasives species are officially defined, as well as background federal invasive species related information.

As per Executive Order 13112 (Section 1. Definitions) an "invasive species" is defined as a species that is:

1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and

2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Provides a non-regulatory policy interpretation of the term "invasive species":

Invasive Species Definition Clarification and Guidance White Paper (2006)
Submitted by the Definitions Subcommittee of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC), Approved by ISAC Apr 27, 2006.

Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes). To learn more, see our Species Profiles which provides general information about species considered to be invasive. Invasive species can be introduced to an area by ship ballast water, accidental release, and by people. Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions. See our Pathways page to learn more about how invasive species are introduced to new areas. Invasive species can lead to the extinction of native plants and animals, destroy biodiversity, and permanently alter habitats.