, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 595-607

Non-native Species DO Threaten the Natural Environment!

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Abstract

Sagoff [Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18 (2005), 215–236] argues, against growing empirical evidence, that major environmental impacts of non-native species are unproven. However, many such impacts, including extinctions of both island and continental species, have both been demonstrated and judged by the public to be harmful. Although more public attention has been focused on non-native animals than non-native plants, the latter more often cause ecosystem-wide impacts. Increased regulation of introduction of non-native species is, therefore, warranted, and, contra Sagoff’s assertions, invasion biologists have recently developed methods that greatly aid prediction of which introduced species will harm the environment and thus enable more efficient regulation. The fact that introduced species may increase local biodiversity in certain instances has not been shown to result in desired changes in ecosystem function. In other locales, they decrease biodiversity, as they do globally.