Non-native animals on public lands
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- Larger Work: Our living resources: A report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems
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Non-native plants and animals have become part of our surroundings, in cities, agricultural areas, and wildlands. While there are many beneficial purposes for non-native animals, such as for food and sport hunting and as agricultural animals, the introduction of some has had major negative economic consequences (Palmer 1899), and adverse effects on native wildlife, plants, and habitats. The British ecologist Charles Elton, in a major review of introduced species, described the increasing number of invasions as constituting "one of the great historical convulsions in the world's flora and fauna" (Elton 1958, p. 31).
Non-native species are significant problems on large areas of state and federal public lands, and areas set aside to protect native plant and animal communities are not immune to such harm. Science and conservation journals have devoted entire issues to the threats posed by non-native plants and animals in nature reserves (e.g., Usher et al. 1988). In a compilation of threats to U.S. national parks, non-native plants and animals were the most often reported threat, and were reported by the most areas; feral cats (Felis catus), feral dogs (Canis familiaris), and wild pigs (Sus scrofa) were the non-native animals cited most often (NPCA 1977). Non-native species present serious threats, but at the same time, coordinated efforts on public lands offer the best possibility for controlling some harmful non-native species, and protecting both native plant and animal communities and human interests and needs.
We compiled information on non-native animals on public and private land-management areas by conducting a mail survey to assess their occurrence and management status in land-management areas. Survey results represent contributions from 937 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management field areas, and state and private land-management areas. The results reflect those species that land managers considered of greatest concern, and their general distribution on public lands. Non-native invertebrate animals, particularly forest insects and agricultural pests, cause severe economic and environmental damage as well (OTA 1993), but were not the focus of this survey.
Additional publication details
|Publication type||Book chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Title||Non-native animals on public lands|
|Publisher||National Biological Service|
|Publisher location||Washington, D.C.|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Ecological Research Center|
|Larger Work Type||Book|
|Larger Work Subtype||Monograph|
|Larger Work Title||Our living resources: A report to the nation on the distribution, abundance, and health of U.S. plants, animals, and ecosystems|