Forests, Fish and Wildlife
Invasive Plants, Insects and Tree Diseases
Invasive Plants, Insects and Tree Diseases:
The introduction of new species from one ecosystem into another is a process that has occurred countless times since life first arose on Earth. Some of these new species fit in where they could but others were much more aggressive and as they gained a foothold, the existing species had to either adapt, move or risk extinction.
This process continues to this day but in recent decades, it has been greatly accelerated by the actions of people. Either by accident or deliberately, people have introduced many new plants, animals and insects species into Island forests and other ecosystems. Some of these species are only capable of living here under specific conditions and if those conditions change, their populations decline. Others are much more adaptable and capable of altering the natural ecosystem. Often they have special adaptations that allow them to out compete native species for growing space, water and nutrients. This situation maybe accentuated by a lack of natural predators or diseases in the area they are colonizing, leading to a rapid increase in their population and distribution across the Island and a corresponding loss of habitat for native species and the other plants, animals and insects that depend upon them.
Introduced insects and diseases act in a similar way by attacking Acadian Forest trees that have limited or no natural resistence. In some cases the native trees and shrubs are able over time to adapt to the new challenger but in other cases, the insect or disease overwhelms the native species leading to large scale population declines and even extinction.
The lists contained in the following sections are not complete listings of every invasive species found in Island forests, but they do contain information on many of the most common and harmful invasive species found on PEI.
Invasive and Harmful Plants:
The Invasive and Harmful Plants page contains information and links on several problem plant species and a few that have limited distribution on PEI but which may cause problems with human health.
The Invasive Forest Insects page contains information and links on several introduced insect species that impact native tree specie on P.E.I.
Introduced Tree Diseases:
The Introduced Tree Diseases page contains information on Dutch Elm Disease and several other introduced diseases that cause problems for Island trees.