Harmful Species

Click Here for the Harmful Species Full Report

The detection of plants, animals, and microbes beyond their natural range is an indicator that a) the ecological system is in the process of self-regulation leading to the mortality of the new species b) the system will reorganize with this "foot-hold" species as a new component. Once in a new environment, most organisms will simply die or if they become resident and reproduce may not severely impact an ecosystem. But sometimes a new species spreads unimpeded, with devastating ecological or economic results. This latter category includes species like the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar)and is largely the focus of the attached U.S. National Assessment of Harmful Species prepared for the OTA and published in 1993.

In this report is an overview of the status of harmful non-indigenous species in the United States, an analysis of the technological issues involved in dealing with harmful species, and an examination of the institutional organization in place to deal with invasive species.