Alien Invaders: Exotic Plants in the Everglades
Every species of plant, animal, fungi, and bacteria has a home in some part of the world. A place where it has existed for thousands of years as a result of natural forces and influences like climate, storms, moisture, fire, soils, and species interactions. Over long periods of time, these and other factors direct the distributions of organisms in nature. A native (indigenous) species is one that occurs in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat without direct or indirect human actions. Species native to North America are generally recognized as those occurring on the continent prior to European settlement. Endemic is used to describe populations of native animals, plants or other organisms that have relatively restricted distributions and are confined to certain environments.
Organisms are considered non-native (alien, exotic, foreign, introduced, non-indigenous) when they occur artificially in locations beyond their known historical natural ranges. Non-native can refer to species brought in from other continents, regions, ecosystems, and even other habitats. Species exotic to the U.S. include those transported from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and other parts of the world. They also include any species moved by people from one locality in the U.S. to a new one.
Importance of Native Plants
Did You Know?
The Ten Thousand Islands area of Everglades National Park composes part of the largest stand of protected mangrove forest in the Western Hemisphere. South Florida's coast serves as a vital nursery ground for many of our most prized commercial and recreational marine species.