• Many natural communities have been changed by introduced plant and animal species that become invasive on this continent without their natural enemies to control them.  Some of the invasive exotic plants and animals now dominate native communities and alter the ecological relationships.  Many of our undeveloped lands and conservation areas are threatened by these non-native species.

    Since the colonization of Massachusetts by European settlers, numerous non-native species have been brought into the Commonwealth.  Many of them were introduced deliberately for their agricultural, medicinal, and/or landscaping values. Others arrived inadvertently, carried as seeds with livestock, shipping materials, or even in the clothing people wore. 

    Today, the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) and other conservation organizations work tirelessly to control the spread of invasive plant species in our most critical habitats and natural communities.  Outbreaks of invasive animal species are handled on a case-by case, species-by-species basis.  For example, in 2009 the presence of the invasive zebra mussel was confirmed in Laurel Lake in Lee, Massachusetts.  The presence of this species affected boat cleaning requirements for the area.  See the Zebra Mussel web pages of the Division of Fishing and Boating for more information.

    For more information on invasive plant control efforts in Massachusetts, please see our Invasive Plants web page.  For additional information about efforts to control invasive species in Massachusetts, contact Tim Simmons, Restoration Ecologist, at tim.simmons@state.ma.us.