Invasive plant and animal species affect biodiversity mainly by competing with and crowding out native species, by consuming native species not used to their predation, by altering native habitat so it is no longer suitable for the species that once lived there. Because they have been removed from their original habitat and the natural predators that formerly kept their populations in check, many invasive species undergo a population explosion in their new environment; for instance, invasive plants may spread to such a degree that they smother the natural plant community and take over vast areas of ground. Predatory animals, when introduced to a new environment, may consume entire populations of prey species that have not had time to evolved defenses against the newcomers. Large animals like pigs and goats may also alter habitat – for instance by stripping the natural vegetation away, and leaving the soil vulnerable to erosion. All of these activities have negative impacts on native species, and may even cause some native animals and plants to go extinct.
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