Contrary to the title, the focus of Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas is native biodiversity. Invasive species and habitat destruction, intensified by global climate change, are running neck-to-neck as the leading causes of environmental despoliation and loss of biological diversity worldwide. The ever-expanding human population and associated demand on limited natural resources are driving this worldwide problem. International trade provides a means to satisfy the great demand for exotic things but has resulted in the introduction of plants, insects and pathogens that are harmful to our environment and human health. Preserving remaining intact natural habitats, reestablishing native plants, managing overabundant white-tailed deer populations and restoring natural hydrologic and other conditions are some steps we can take to mend degraded lands.
This fourth edition has been updated, expanded and reorganized to provide more information in a more efficient manner. The book now includes information on 80 species (up from 60 previously) and expanded control guidance. A new section called “Plants to Watch” has been added which includes a number of species that may not be widespread but are increasingly catching the attention of ecologists, land managers and others as being invasive in natural habitats. Native plant alternatives have been consolidated in a separate section.
For the purposes of this manual, the mid-Atlantic region includes the District of Columbia and the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. About 280 exotic plant species have been identified by experts as being invasive in natural areas in this region. A complete list is available from the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States (see References). As of this printing, the Invasive Plant Atlas shows 1,173 plants having been reported to be invasive in natural areas in the U.S. This guide should be used as an introduction to invasive plants and the impacts they are having on natural habitats and ecosystems. Plants not included here should not be assumed to be non-harmful.
This book is dedicated to Gail Sharabi who inspired my first Weed Buster event at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland on Columbus Day in 1993.
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