Invasive species defined in a policy context: Recommendations from the federal invasive species advisory committee

K. George Beck, Kenneth Zimmerman, Jeffrey D. Schardt, Jeffrey Stone, Ronald R. Lukens, Sarah Reichard, John Randall, Allegra A. Cangelosi, Diane Cooper, John Peter Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Invasive species are those that are not native to the ecosystem under consideration and that cause or are likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human, animal, or plant health. Plant and animal species under domestication or cultivation and under human control are not invasive species. Furthermore for policy purposes, to be considered invasive, the negative impacts caused by a non-native species will be deemed to outweigh the beneficial effects it provides. Finally, a non-native species might be considered invasive in one region but not in another. Whether or not a species is considered an invasive species depends largely on human values. By attempting to manage invasive species, we are affirming our economic and environmental values. Those non-native species judged to cause overall economic or environmental harm or harm to human health may be considered invasive, even if they yield some beneficial effects. Society struggles to determine the appropriate course of action in such cases, but in a democratic society that struggle is essential. Many invasive species are examples of "the tragedy of the commons," or how actions that benefit one individual's use of resources may negatively impact others and result in a significant overall increase in damage to the economy, the environment, or public health. In ISAC's review of Executive Order 113112, the public domain is specifically represented; however, the implementation of the NISMP has prompted concerns over the rights of personal and private property owners. Property rights are of great importance in the U.S. and one outcome of the NISMP should be to recognize the right to self determination by property owners and promote collaboration on invasive species management. The right to self determination is an important concept in a democratic society; however, with that right comes personal responsibility and stewardship, which includes being environmentally responsible. The natural environment that our society enjoys, recreates in, and depends upon to support commerce must be conserved and maintained. Effective invasive species management is just one aspect of conserving and maintaining our nation's natural environment, the economies it supports, and the high quality of life our society enjoys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-421
Number of pages8
JournalInvasive Plant Science and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science


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