Nonnative Species

Dying pine tree tops against sky.
Southern pine beetle infestations can impact and even kill pine trees.

NPS Photo/ML Lamont


A non-native is any species that occurs outside its native range as a result of deliberate or accidental introduction. Non-natives compete with native species for habitat and food, and may have an impact on specialized ecosystems.

Non-native species are not natural components of the ecological system into which they are introduced. This typically means non-native species have not evolved in concert with native species and do not have natural predators, so their numbers may grow quickly.

Beyond the usual assortment of urban and rural pest issues, extensive populations of non-native invasive plants and pests can present an additional challenge to protecting natural resources.


What is the southern pine beetle?

The southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) is a bark beetle native to the southeastern United States that has steadily expanded its range north and west, possibly due to climate change. Considered one of the most destructive forest pests in the United States the southern pine beetle attacks all species of pine including pitch pine, the predominant pine species of the Long Island Pine Barrens and on Fire Island.

For more information on how to look for and report infestations of southern pine beetle in your background, please visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Southern Pine Beetle Website.


What is Phragmites?

Common reed (Phragmites australis) is very extensive on Fire Island, especially on the eastern end of the wilderness area. This plant can grow up to 20 feet high and forms dense stands by a network of roots and rhizomes. One Phragmites plant can spread more than 10 feet in a single growing season.


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Last updated: February 27, 2017

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