Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Invasive Plant Project
Invasive Plant Monitoring ProjectThis project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture

 The Issue of Invasive Plants

An exotic plant or other species is one that is found outside of its normal range.  An invasive species is a species that is quickly becoming very abundant.  Often this spread is harmful to native species.  Most invasive species of concern are also exotic, but occasionally, conditions change such that a native species suddenly proliferates. 

In our project, all of our invasive plants are exotics that have either been accidently or intentionally introduced by people.  For example, Japanese barberry (BETH) is a very popular ornamental plant.  Garlic mustard (ALPE) is an herb that can be used in cooking.

Invasive plants spread in different ways:  birds may eat the fruit and drop the seeds elsewhere, or the wind can carry small seeds.  One thing we would like to know is whether or not some plants can be spread by people picking up seeds as they hike.  Another interesting issue is why some plants become invasive and others do not.

We have many exotic plants in our forests and other natural areas.  Can we fix the damage that has been done?  How can we prevent future problem species from spreading?  These are also interesting issues.