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Terrestrial Invasive Species in New York State

Official inspecting wood crates for hitchhiking invasive insects
Shipping crates can contain invasive insects.
Photo: Ethan Angell
NYS Dept of Agriculture and Markets

Terrestrial invasive species are land-living organisms that negatively impact our communities, fields and forests. They can decrease our enjoyment of nature, increase the cost of living and even put our health at risk.

How did they get here?

An unfortunate byproduct of world travel and trade is the introduction of unwanted invasive species. Shipping pallets and crates, luggage, the ballast water of boats and even people can unintentionally transport invasive plants, insects and diseases to new areas. Without knowing that they would become problematic, some species have been introduced intentionally for use in landscaping, agriculture and other purposes.

Why do we care?

Invasive species impact all aspects of life, from recreation to livelihood. Spotted knapweed is an invasive plant that can take over crop fields, limiting crop production and feed for livestock. Hemlock woolly adelgid is an invasive insect that defoliates and kills hemlock trees, a key species in maintaining important habitat along waterways. Whether damaging the economy or the environment, invasive species can destroy the places we love and require costly solutions.

What can we do?

There are a lot of ways in which you can make a difference. Simple actions such as using local firewood and cleaning your boots after a hike can go a long way in fighting invasive species. Visit Prevent the Spread of Terrestrial Invasive Species to find out how to help. Read about invasive species regulations.

Gypsy moth
Gypsy Moth
Photograph credit: Louis-Michel Nageleisen,
Département de la Santé des Forêts - France,
http://www.forestryimages.org (leaves the DEC website)

Learn more about terrestrial invasive species found in NYS:

See something strange in your yard, forest or field? Take pictures, collect specimens and we'll help you identify it at the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab.


More about Terrestrial Invasive Species in New York State:

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  • Div of Lands and Forests
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4250
    518-402-9405
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