|Giant hogweed* (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Photo: WikiCommons.|
Invasive species are animals and plants that are not native to an ecosystem and that cause economic or environmental harm. They can take over landscapes and drive native wildlife away. More than 50,000 non-native species have been introduced to the United States throughout our history, but invaders don’t have to come from outside the U.S. to be considered invasive. Something native to the Eastern U.S. can be invasive in Oregon. Click here for Oregon’s top 100 Worst List.
There are two easy ways for people to report invasive species sightings to the Oregon Invasive Species Council: a toll-free call (1.866.INVADER ) or submitting an online form. All invading plants and animals should be reported. Once reported, the information is screened and the person making the report is connected with an expert able to make a quick identification. The hotline has been instrumental in early identification of invading species. See something odd? Give them a call.
Want to learn more about invaders, where they come from and what we can do to stop them? Watch Oregon Public Broadcasting’s The Silent Invasion (online or purchase the DVD), visit The Silent Invasion website, check out the Oregon Invasive Species blog, or visit the website of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
*Giant hogweed is one of Oregon’s top 100 worst invasive species. It escaped from arboretums and private gardens, and is now naturalized in surrounding areas, especially riparian and urban sites. The plant exudes a clear watery sap which sensitizes the skin to ultraviolet radiation. Humans often develop severe burns to the affected areas resulting in blistering and painful dermatitis. Blisters can later develop into purplish or blackened scars. Currently under eradication or restricted to a small area in Oregon.