6 Pros and Cons of Controlling Invasive Species

6 Pros and Cons of Controlling Invasive Species

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Invasive species, whether plant, animal or even bacteria, are defined as a non-native species that can presence negative effects to any given environment or the health of native species that do live in such an environment.

Invasive species have a history of eradicating or polluting environments that they weren’t previously native, ultimately invoking a loss in quality of life for that environment. In this article, we’re going to examine the pros and cons of controlling invasive species in the modern world.

Controlling invasive species does have its pros—after all, these methods do keep these species from harming environments where they don’t naturally live. Let’s review some of the pros to controlling invasive species in our modern world.

List of Pros of Controlling Invasive Species

1. Mechanical control.
Mechanical control, in the context of controlling invasive species, refers to methods in which these species are physically removed from the environment that they may be causing harm.

This method of control works because it often removes the invasive species from any particular environment ‘as soon as possible,’ depending on the method of extraction used.

For animals, this method may include trapping or hunting the species. This method can be reliable in that respect, since it puts a quick end to the species control over the area affected by them.

When it comes to plants, this method of control typically involves manually removing the problematic plant. Most situations involve uprooting the plant in question, physically removing the species from the area affected by them.

2. Biological control.
Biological control involves the release of another, often new, species to an area that’s overpopulated by an invasive species.

This method typically involves isolating and later releasing a new species into an environment that may be affected by an invasive species. The new species is often a species that’s been hypothesized (and supported by research) to help dwindle the population of the invasive species. While not as common, this method of invasive species control has been proven to eliminate the issue without much human intervention.

3. Chemical control.
Chemical control is perhaps the most common way to control invasive species. In most cases, this method of species control involves spraying pesticide or herbicide over the affected area.

Pesticide helps prevent problematic species, namely insects, from destroying the vegetation of an affected area. This type of species control tends to be less costly than other control methods, prompting its widespread use in various industries that involve cultivating and processing vegetation.

Herbicide is also used widely in industries that involve cultivating and processing vegetation, in addition to those where maintaining a healthy landscape is important. This type of control prevents invasive plant species from ruining the ecosystem of the surrounding flora and/or fauna in the affected area.

List of Cons of Controlling Invasive Species

Not every species control methodology works. Some methods may even harm the environment that it might be attempting to protect. Let’s review some of the cons to potentially controlling invasive species in the modern world.

1. Mechanical control.
While mechanical control can be an absolute end to an invasive species and their reign over any particular area, it’s not the best method of removal in some cases.

Mechanical control can be costly, especially in areas that don’t have the funds or resources to support those methods. Some instances of mechanical control, such as hunting, can be detrimental to the population of the invasive species if not done in a controlled manner.

When it comes to removing problematic plants, some areas may not have the labor forces needed to do such work. It also takes a long time to completely remove the problematic species from an area, which can be a problem on limited time frames.

2. Chemical control.
The main con of chemical control is its effects on the environment, which doesn’t only include the environment that it may impact.

Chemicals from herbicides and pesticides tend to spread from the area where they’re used, possibly contaminating the surrounding environment. This contamination is known to affect the creatures and organisms that live in the affected environment. These chemicals may also pollute the water supply of humans in the surrounding area.

3. Biological control.
The biggest con with biological control is best proven by using the Australian cane toad as an example.

In the 1930s, the cane toad was released into the wild in order to control the population of the native cane beetle. What happened was the toad, while it did start consuming the cane beetle population, also started consuming other native species. The cane toad also produces a toxin that’s poisonous to native predators.

As a result, both factors have contributed to the cane toad turning into an invasive species in Australia. The country, over the past few decades, have attempted to dwindle the cane toad population by introducing 28 different species to the nation’s natural environment.

In Closing

Each year, organizations research and invest in new ways to control invasive species. But some groups don’t agree with some of the methods used to control these species. Despite the differences in how people agree to control invasive species, many around the world use the aforementioned methods to prevent invasive species from overtaking any given natural environment.