THE ALIENS HAVE ARRIVED! Invasive, exotic plants like purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, glossy buckthorn and shrub honeysuckles are a major threat to bio-diversity of the Upper Connecticut River Valley. Since the last ice age, the plants and animals which exist here in the upper valley have co-evolved over the past 10,000 years, and have developed an intricate interdependence.
While there are an estimated 4000 introduced plants in the United States, only 400 are considered potentially invasive. Many of the alien plants, such as dandelion, naturalize and blend in with the natives. But a few have a remarkable competitive advantage, and can overcome the native vegetation, leading to loss in diversity of many species; in fact, next to loss of habitat, introduced species are blamed for about 46% of the loss of species worldwide. Some introduced plant species can alter the soil chemistry and even poison the soil for native plants; others cause erosion; some are so attractive to pollinators that native plants get shortchanged; others cause loss of wildlife habitat, since native insects and animals can not make use these alien plants for food or shelter.
The arrival of some of these plants may have been inadvertent, but many have been intentionally introduced and have escaped cultivation. At first, the invasion doesn't look like much, but if unchecked can alter a region's natural, cultural and aesthetic values irrevocably.
The Upper Valley is fortunate, in
that plant invasions haven't progressed to the extent found elsewhere,
but they have arrived; only enlightened efforts by all citizens can
protect the special natural habitats of the Upper Valley. The
purpose of this website is educational -- to alert citizens to the problems
of invasive plants, and to share information about control efforts.
Click any of the left-hand menu items to learn more.