Invasive Species in Massachusetts
Mass Audubon considers invasive species to be one of the greatest threats to the nature of Massachusetts because they out-compete, displace, or kill native species.
What are invasive species?
Invasive species are plants and animals that are not native to Massachusetts but thrive here. Many have been introduced accidentally. Some, such as purple loosestrife and Japanese barberry, were introduced as garden plants and for landscaping use. The origin of others is unknown. Learn more about invasive plants in Massachusetts.
But no matter how they arrived, invasive species have become established and have proliferated to a point where they threaten our native plants and animals.
What can be done about them?
Mass Audubon's approach to addressing the threat invasive species pose to native plants and animals is three-fold.
Managing our sanctuary lands to protect native species and plant communities from invasive species by:
- Developing a comprehensive strategy for managing invasive species on Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries.
- Implementing numerous invasive species management projects.
- Working to address invasive species threats statewide:
- Educating our members and the general public:
- Providing an invasive species management handbook to Mass Audubon's education staff and to more than 200 conservation land managers across the state. This publication brings together information on the biology and management of invasive species found in Massachusetts.
- Distributing the Mass Audubon Paddlers Guide, a brochure that highlights invasive species commonly found in and along our rivers and streams.
- Providing Lessoning Loosestrife curriculum for educators. This curriculum was designed for elementary to high school level students to help teach about wetlands, invasive species, and about using biocontrol beetles as a tool for controlling a wetland invader, purple loosestrife.
- Providing Salt Marsh Science Database and curriculum for educators. Is the invasive reed Phragmites spreading in our salt marshes? If yes, how fast is it spreading? What conditions is it growing in? Is it responding to restoration efforts? This curriculum for middle and high school students includes classroom activities, identification sheets and a dichotomous key for identifying salt marsh plants, and data sheets for salt marsh field trips.
- Providing The Invasive Plant Ecology Curriculum focuses on several invaders you most likely have seen in your city. This resource focuses on some top invaders found on our roadsides and wetlands.
- Providing a Perennial Pepperweed Handbook which includes mapping tools, instructions for acquiring permits, and permissions, ways of treating this invasive, and outreach materials.