Invasive Species

National Strategy and Implementation PlanInvasive species have been identified by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service as one of the four significant threats to our Nation’s forest and rangeland ecosystems.

In response to this identified threat, a multidisciplinary team of specialists, managers, and researchers has worked together to produce a National Strategy and Implementation Plan for Invasive Species Management.

The goal of the USDA Forest Service invasive species program is to reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, establishment, spread, and impact of invasive species across all landscapes and ownerships.

What is an Invasive Species?

Invasive species have been characterized as a “catastrophic wildfire in slow motion.” Thousands of non-native invasive plants, insects, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, pathogens, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians have infested hundreds of millions of acres of land and water across the Nation, causing massive disruptions in ecosystem function, reducing biodiversity, and degrading ecosystem health in our Nation’s forests, prairies, mountains, wetlands, rivers, and oceans. Invasive organisms affect the health of not only the Nation’s forests and rangelands but also of wildlife, livestock, fish, and humans.

A species is considered invasive if it meets these two criteria:

  1. It is nonnative to the ecosystem under consideration, and
  2. Its introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

This definition is derived from Executive Order 13112, issued on February 3, 1999, which established the National Invasive Species Council.

Management of invasive species within the Forest Service occurs within a framework of laws, regulations, directives, and plans. In 2011 the Forest Service developed a new section to the Forest Service Manual (FSM) under code 2900, entitled Invasive Species Management. This FSM 2900 sets forth National Forest System policy, responsibilities, and direction for the prevention, detection, control, and restoration of effects from aquatic and terrestrial invasive species (including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and pathogens).

Invasives Caught Entering the State