Non‐native species are plants or animals found outside their native range. Invasive non‐native species are those which reproduce rapidly and have a tendency to displace native species when transplanted into new ecosystems.
Nantucket is fortunate because its isolation from the mainland has slowed the colonization of invasive exotic plants. However, the percentage of non‐native species on Nantucket has been steadily rising in recent years. Many of these introductions are intentional additions to island gardens, while others are weeds that “hitched a ride” along with garden plants. Birds are also known to deposit seeds, particularly those of vines and shrubs bearing showy, colorful fruit.
Focusing resources on detection and management of invasive species on the Foundation’s properties is an important component of its mission to “permanently conserve, maintain, and manage natural areas and habitats.” Science and Stewardship Staff detect invasive plant infestations both incidentally while working on other projects in the field and during systematic inventories of particular properties.
Once located, information is collected with GPS units and data on the number and size of plants and the population extent is recorded. Potential risks and benefits of management are then evaluated, based on the location of property boundaries, wetlands and wetland buffers and presence of rare species. If management is deemed necessary to protect native species or ecosystem function and can be feasibly accomplished with available resources, we develop plans to treat the infestation using the most appropriate methods. We also submit data on “new” and emerging invasive plant species’ distribution to the EDDMapS Program, so that it will be reviewed in regional and state invasive species research and decision making.
We work collaboratively with our partner conservation groups involved with the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative Invasive Plant Species Committee on many of our invasive species management projects and utilize school groups and volunteers to assist with manual removal efforts. Check out their webpage for extensive information about invasive plant management on Nantucket.
If you are interested in helping out with this important work, please consider volunteering a few hours of your time!