There are many ways in which invasive species can damage the ecosystems they infiltrate. Damages are often caused by the foreign species’s forcing its way into the food chain, which can have damaging consequences for the organisms it feeds on as well as for the organisms it competes with. Invasive species can also cause problems by adding themselves as potential prey, thus allowing native animals to multiply unchecked, further disrupting the balance in the ecosystem. Invasive species can also deplete vital nutrients in an ecosystem, as the gypsy moth depleted the amount of nitrogen available for trees in North American forests. Another consequence invasive species can have for an ecosystem is that they can spread diseases that the native populations are not equipped to combat (much like the Spanish did when they invaded the Americas!).
Invasive species can effect an ecosystem in different ways. The species can be a new and thriving predator in the area, killing of the species of prey that had no time to learn or adapt. An example of this is the brown tree snake introduced to Guam which has killed of 10 species of birds (only 13 species in the country), 6 species of lizards, and 2 species of bats (only 3 species in the country) (ethomas.web). Some agressive plant species introduced to a foreign environment will overgrow natural plant life; some of which is a food source to local herbivores. An invasive species can also bring foreign disease that local populaces have no immunity to. An example of this is early European settlement in North America. The disease and bacteria White people brought from overseas is estimated to have killed more Native Americans than those fallen in battle or massacre.
Kudzu is a good example of an invasive plant. It can take over entire forests because of its rapid growth rate that can easily cover large areas. When it gets into a forest, it prevents the growth of young trees and kills other plants by blocking sunlight and starving them of nutrients, and can even uproot trees. It can also damage infrastructure, as it will grow over anything and is extremely difficult to kill.
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