Many non-native species have set up residence in Big South Fork. A non-native is any species that occurs outside its native range as a result of deliberate or accidental introduction by humans. Non-natives compete with native species for habitat and food and often take over specialized ecosystems that rare plants or animals need to survive. The non-native species are not natural components of the ecological system and, as a result, have not evolved in concert with the native species. Often, non-native species will not have natural predators, so their numbers will grow alarmingly. In fact, most of the successful non-natives seem to be pre-adapted to our area. This could be explained by the biological similarity between Big South Fork and regions of Europe, East Asia, and western North America. The presence of non-native species in Big South Fork is a detriment to the park because of the reduction in biological diversity as native populations are forced out of their environmental niches.
Hemlock Woolly Adelgids
Managing Non-native Species
Management procedures vary for the non-native species mentioned above. The park is trying to totally eradicate some non-native plant species through the use of herbicides that do not harm the ecosystem.
Did You Know?
In the 1960's Congress requested the Army Corps of Engineers to study the feasibility of damming the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River just above the Devils Jump Rapid to create another reservoir. Had that happened Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area would never have existed.